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201127 Sep

bmw i8 hybrid


It's all very well presenting concepts; working prototypes cast a glance into the future. BMW will launch its all new BMW i brand in 2013. This is what BMW calls a holistic approach to the future of the automobile. The i3 is a city runabout, featuring an-electric drivetrain, while the i8 sportscar is a plug-in hybrid, powered by a combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.

The i3, set for a 2013 launch, uses an electric motor mounted over the rear axle, which endows this car with the same rear-wheel drive responses which BMW drivers have come to love. It can seat four people and carry up to 200 litres of luggage. Wide opening 'coach' doors allow easy access, while BMW has used earthy colours like ice blue, porcelain white, mocha brown and black to create a welcoming environment. The motor produces a juicy 170 bhp of power and 250 Nm of torque, propelling this little car to 100 km/h in less than 8 seconds!  

The i8 sportscar however will really get your juices flowing. The same electric powertrain as used in the i3 is mounted over the front wheels, while at the rear, a highly-efficient 3-cylinder petrol engine producing 220 bhp is used. The combination of electric motor and petrol engine help the i8 sprint to 100 km/h in less than 5 seconds, and on to an electrically-governed top speed of 250 km/h. Better still, drivers have the option of using electric power alone in urban traffic, for up to 35 kilometres. But the truly shattering claim here is fuel efficiency; BMW claims the i8 will return a combined mileage figure of over 30 kpl!


bmw i3 and bmw i8

Prices haven't been announced yet, but expect the i3 to be priced at or about what Nissan's Leaf city car costs, while the i8 will be a premium sportscar with a premium price tag. Both cars use aluminium construction for their critical mechanical components, while the body sheel and passenger compartment are made out of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic. These high tech and lightweight materials will also add to the cost substantially. BMW calls such an approach to car construction as LifeDrive. The Drive module is mostly made of aluminium and contains the engine, transmission, suspension, driveline and other structural components. The CRFP construction for the passenger compartment is called the Life module, designed to protect the occupants in the event of a crash.

BMW is taking the approach to future mobility very seriously, and has even invested in new start-ups like ParkAtMyHouse, a website which allows people to interact and offer parking spaces for sale.

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