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BMW Enthuiasts Catch a Glimpse of the Electrifying i3 Coupe

by Steve Dearborn

Now much more than a pipe dream, BMW has announced that its i3 concept electric vehicle will be officially unveiled in early 2014. According to CarScoop, the fully electric-powered coupe is slightly different from its original concept, which was introduced in Frankfurt in 2011. Innovative in both design and performance, BMW has been at the forefront of mastering the use of alternative vehicles and electrically powered engines for the past 40 years. Celebrating their fourth decade in building alternative vehicles, BMW chose to begin production in Leipzig, Germany, on the anniversary of their first electric car's release.

On the Rise

Released in 1972 as a show vehicle for VIP passengers at the US Olympics, the 1602 was BMW's first fully electric vehicle, it was a prototype, but would not be produced widely because of the weight of its lead-acid batteries (which was 770 pounds). Since the showing of the 1602, BMW has come a long way and critics, like Viknesh Vijayenthiran of Motor Authority, are expecting the i3 to be the most energy efficient vehicle of 2013.

It was no surprise that BMW's German stock rose during the announcement of the i3. Business Week did not attribute the climb in the manufacturer's stock value to the introduction of the i3, but from an economic standpoint, an increase in value and great expectations are never a bad thing and can only result in an increase in BMW sales for the future. Read on and learn how the i3 will stand out from the crowd of alternatively powered vehicles.

2013 BMW i3 Concept Car Photo

A Real Lightweight

To ensure that its production would be cost efficient and more powerful, BMW created a chassis for the i3 that was composed entirely from aluminum and placed its batteries in order to lower the vehicle's center of gravity. Connected to the aluminum chassis is a CRFP (carbonfibre reinforced plastic) that serves as a protection for the occupants of the car. This material is durable and lightweight, making the internal parts and frame of the vehicle ideal for a faster, better performing vehicle.

Rear Wheel-Drive

Maintaining its signature spinning rear wheel-drive, BMW placed the electric engine and the optional range extender sits at the back allowing the weight to be distributed in a balanced manner, to increase the speed to 170 horsepower (125 kW). With the motor mounted below the boot floor, the wheels will be forced to engage against the motor's force, allowing the vehicle to still remain in control at 100 miles.

...And Then There's the i8

Of course BMW isn't stopping here. The German car manufacturer is also planning to release an equally expensive hybrid; the sporty i8 will release in special BMW i stores in early to mid 2013. As they are heading into a largely innovative and eco-friendly phase of their vehicle production, it's exciting to see where BMW is heading with alternatively fueled vehicles. It is clear that they are not planning on settling with the use of old technology in any of their future plans.

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