The first ever BMW i3 electric vehicle arrives in Australia
MULGRAVE, AUSTRALIA – Oct 1, 2013: BMW Group Australia has announced the arrival of the first of their groundbreaking all-electric vehicles, the BMW i3, from the company’s new sub-brand, BMW i. The pre-production vehicle was air-freighted to Australia to begin a packed schedule of appearances at events designed to generate awareness of the future-oriented small car.
Unveiling the vehicle in Melbourne today, BMW Group Australia managing director, Phil Horton, said the BMW i sub-brand was the most compelling concept for electric mobility designed by an automotive manufacturer to date.
“The new BMW i sub-brand stands for visionary vehicles, like the BMW i3, as well as a host of innovative mobility services designed to be efficient and environmentally friendly.
“While the consumer launch of the BMW i3 is still several months away, we have received such strong enquiry from potential customers that we decided to commence our preview events early,” Horton said.
Along with innovative vehicle concepts, the BMW i sub-brand represents inspiring design and a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability.
Described as “born electric,” the BMW i3 is the first-ever electric vehicle to be conceived and custom built under the auspices of the new BMW i sub-brand, and utilises cutting edge, light-weight components and innovative production processes.
With excellent performance characteristics and agile dynamics, the The BMW i3 presents low-emission mobility in a premium car package that clearly demonstrates BMW’s customary sporting capability.
The BMW i3 is based on a new kind of vehicle architecture, the LifeDrive concept, which includes a “Life” cell or passenger compartment made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) and a “Drive” cell or chassis and drivetrain formed from lightweight and aluminium materials.
Opposing “coach” doors, coupled with the absence of B-pillars and the centre tunnel normally found in conventional vehicles form the basis for the unusually high degree of spaciousness and freedom of movement inside the BMW i3.
The BMW i3’s electric motor develops an output of 125 kW using power supplied by a lithium-ion battery pack mounted in a low, central position in the car’s under body.
Like the extraordinarily light yet extremely rigid CFRP passenger cell, the electric drive system and battery housing were developed and produced by the BMW Group.
The BMW i3 weighs just 1,195 kilograms (DIN kerb weight) and offers a range of 130 – 160 kilometres in everyday driving. This can be increased to a maximum 300 kilometres if the two-cylinder range extender combustion engine is specified.
A signature theme of the BMW i brand is sustainability, and this is portrayed in all aspects of the vehicle’s production and component sourcing. The carbon fibres for the passenger cell are manufactured at Moses Lake in the USA using hydro power alone, while the energy required for production of BMW i cars at the BMW Plant in Leipzig, Germany is generated 100 per cent by purpose-built wind turbines.
On its release in Australia in 2014, the BMW i3 will showcase selected driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW ConnectedDrive and the company’s 360° ELECTRIC services – all developed specially for BMW i .
Specifications and pricing for the BMW i3 will be released closer to the vehicle’s customer launch date.
A new era in electric mobility: The BMW i3.
The world, and with it the sphere of personal mobility, is in a state of ecological, economic and social upheaval. Global developments such as climate change, dwindling resources and increasing urbanisation call for fresh solutions.
BMW i is finding those solutions. The brand stands for visionary vehicle concepts, inspiring design and a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability.
In the BMW i3 – the first series-produced model by BMW i – zero-emission mobility in a premium car package proves to be a recipe for pure driving pleasure.
The first BMW Group model running on electric power alone offers customers totally new and groundbreaking ways to experience driving pleasure, sustainability and connectivity on city roads.
The visionary design of the BMW i3 showcases both BMW’s customary sporting capability and the efficiency of a four-seater with authentic clarity.
Its innovative vehicle concept, including a passenger compartment made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), combines lightness, stability and safety with extraordinary spaciousness.
Meanwhile, the driver assistance systems and mobility services from BMW Connected Drive and the 360° ELECTRIC services – all developed specially for BMW i – turn zero-emission urban mobility into a compelling everyday driving experience.
The electric motor powering the BMW i3 generates a maximum output of 125 kW and peak torque of 250 Newton metres. Its instantaneous power flows to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission. The motor sources its energy from lithium-ion storage cells integrated into the car’s underfloor section.
The significantly lower centre of gravity of the i3 – the result of the low, central placement of the battery units – and even weight distribution make an additional contribution to the car’s agile handling. The battery gives the car a range in everyday conditions of 130 – 160 kilometres when fully charged from a conventional domestic power socket, BMW i Wallbox or public charging station.
BMW i: a new brand, a new understanding of premium.
Already a globally successful manufacturer of premium vehicles, the BMW Group is also set to play a leading and groundbreaking role in shaping the face of personal mobility in the future.
The research and development work carried out since 2007 as part of project i has laid the foundations for sustainable mobility solutions influenced by environmental, economic and social change around the world. The BMW Group is pursuing an integrated approach, as embodied by the new BMW i brand, in its drive to achieve the necessary balance between individual needs and the global mobility requirements of the future.
BMW i is committed to creating innovative vehicles and mobility services with a premium character that is defined squarely in terms of sustainability. This vision is about to become reality: the BMW i3, the first series-produced model from the new brand, offers customers emission-fee mobility in a premium car package.
The BMW i3 is the world’s first premium car designed from the ground up to be powered by an electric drive system. The result is hallmark BMW driving pleasure, delivered with zero emissions and an engaging intensity unmatched by any other electrically powered vehicle.
Like the i3’s unique vehicle architecture – based around the LifeDrive structure, with its CFRP passenger cell and aluminium module encompassing the powertrain, battery and chassis – the electric motor, power electronics and high-voltage lithium-ion battery (although the cells are externally sourced) have been developed independently by the BMW Group under its BMW eDrive programme. This ensures that BMW’s time-honoured Sheer Driving Pleasure is also a central feature of the BMW i3.
The use of lightweight, durable and crash-safe CFRP on this scale is unique in volume car production. And thanks to its weight-reducing properties, the BMW i3 is no heavier than a comparable vehicle with a conventional drive system and full fuel tank. Its DIN kerb weight stands at 1,195 kilograms – including a high-voltage battery that allows the driver to enjoy both sporting performance attributes and an operating range sufficient for everyday use.
Visionary design as an expression of agility, innovation and
The LifeDrive architecture and BMW eDrive drive technology allow an exceptional degree of freedom in terms of design. The appearance of the BMW i3 is as memorable as the feeling of space and driving experience on board.
A body measuring 3,999 millimetres in length, 1,775 mm wide and 1,578 mm in height, gives the BMW i3 distinctive proportions whose dynamism and compact characteristics which underline the car’s agility in urban use. The short overhangs of the BMW i3 are also a clear pointer to its nimble driving characteristics.
Large glass surfaces imbue the i3 with a compelling lightness and, together with its visible carbon structures, provide a window into the car’s low-weight design.
The use of the light yet extremely rigid material CFRP in the construction of the passenger compartment allows it to dispense with B-pillars, making access to the two rows of seats extremely easy.
One of the signature features of BMW i models is their “black belt”, which extends from the bonnet over the roof and into the rear of the car. Another product of the stand-alone BMW i design language is the “stream flow” sweep of the side contours, which allows larger side window surfaces at the rear and thereby magnifies the generous feeling of space inside the car.
The front-end design of the BMW i3 is defined by a powerfully contoured apron, by the distinctive interpretation of the BMW kidney grille as an enclosed element, and by headlights bordered with U-shaped LED light units. The U-shaped LED rear lights are integrated as “floating” elements into the large, fully glazed tailgate.
Opposing “coach” doors, coupled with the absence of B-pillars and the centre tunnel normally found in conventional vehicles, form the basis for the unusually high degree of spaciousness and freedom of movement inside the BMW i3 (given its compact exterior dimensions). The lines and surface sculpting of the cockpit and door trim accentuate the impression of lightness and contemporary functionality.
The mixture of naturally treated leather, wood, wool and other renewable and recycled raw materials ensures that the premium character of the BMW i3 – complemented by the extra allure of impressive sustainability – is something you can both see and feel.
The BMW i3 is fitted with lightweight seats featuring extremely slim backrests. A slightly raised seating position optimises the driver’s view over city traffic.
The gear selector and start/stop switch share a control element projecting from the steering column. Both the instrument cluster and the iDrive operating system’s Control Display come in freestanding display form.
The BMW i3 can be ordered with exterior paintwork in a choice of non-metallic and metallic colours, all of which present an eye-catching contrast to the black belt.
LifeDrive architecture and BMW eDrive: a commitment to electric
The familiar sense of driving pleasure embodied by the BMW i3 is the result of a rigorously implemented overall concept, part of which has involved creating the optimum balance of weight, performance and range for urban mobility.
The key elements here are the LifeDrive architecture and BMW eDrive technology.
The use of lightweight CFRP for the passenger cell cancels out the extra weight contributed by the lithium-ion battery, while the low, central positioning of the battery pack enhances the car’s agility thanks to perfectly balanced 50:50 weight distribution. Additionally, the electric motor mounted in close proximity to the driven rear axle offers unique performance characteristics for this type of drive system as well as providing unbeatable traction.
The standard 19-inch forged light-alloy wheels of the BMW i3 are ultra-lightweight yet also boast outstanding torsional stiffness. The wheels are fitted with low rolling resistance tyres in 155/70 R19 format, their bespoke, relatively narrow dimensions providing an ideal combination of lower drag and a contact area designed for dynamic cornering.
The driving characteristics of the BMW i3 are dominated by its manoeuvrability – a direct response to the demands of city driving. The instantaneous power delivery of the electric motor, allied to the car’s stiff suspension set-up, precise steering and impressively small turning circle (9.86 metres), produces a typically BMW take on electric mobility.
The electric motor generates output of 125 kW and peak torque of 250 Newton metres, which is on tap from the word go. The motor weighs just 50 kilograms and boasts power density and responsiveness unprecedented in the world of electric mobility. The specific construction of the hybrid synchronous electric motor, developed exclusively for the BMW i3, maintains a linear flow of power into the higher reaches of the rev range. The BMW i3 sprints from 0 to 60 km/h in a mere 3.7 seconds and 0 to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds.
The single-pedal control concept in the BMW i3 – configured by the BMW Group’s drive system development engineers – also contributes to the engaging driving experience. Recuperation mode is activated the moment the driver takes his foot off the accelerator.
The electric motor switches from drive to generator mode, feeding power into the lithium-ion battery. At the same time, it generates a precisely controllable braking effect. This recuperation is speed-sensitive, which means the car “coasts” with maximum efficiency at high speeds and generates a strong braking effect at low speeds.
The lithium-ion battery enables the BMW i3 to achieve a range of 130 to 160 kilometres in everyday driving. This rises by around 20 kilometres in ECO PRO mode and by the same distance again in ECO PRO+ mode.
If desired, the BMW i3 is also available with a range-extender engine, which maintains the charge of the lithium-ion battery at a constant level while on the move as soon as it dips below a specified value. This role is performed by a 650 cc two-cylinder petrol engine developing 25 kW and mounted immediately adjacent to the electric motor above the rear axle. The range extender increases the car’s maximum range in day-to-day driving to around 300 kilometres.
Optimal safety: protection in all situations.
The horizontally split LifeDrive architecture, consisting of two separate, independent modules, is similar in principle to a body-on-frame design. While the aluminium Drive module – the chassis – provides the vehicle’s sturdy foundation, and incorporates the battery, the drive system and the basic structural and crash functions, the Life module consists mainly of a high-strength, ultra-lightweight CFRP passenger cell.
The high-strength passenger cell, in conjunction with intelligent distribution and absorption of impact forces, provides optimal standards of occupant protection. Even in a 64 km/h offset frontal impact, the extremely rigid material of the passenger cell ensures that the occupant survival space is not compromised, while aluminium crash structures in the front and rear of the Drive module provide additional protection.
As a result, deformation of the body in an impact is actually less than for a comparable sheet-steel body. In a pole impact and side impact, the CFRP body demonstrates exceptional energy-absorbing capabilities. Despite the high impact forces and the fact that they are concentrated in relatively small areas, the material suffers only minor deformation.
These outstanding qualities provide optimal protection not only for passengers but also for the high-voltage battery. In the side impact test, pole penetration does not extend as far as the battery.
The world’s first fully networked electrically powered car,
courtesy of BMW ConnectedDrive.
The BMW i3 is the world’s first fully networked electrically powered car. No other model boasts such far-reaching exchange of information between the vehicle, its driver and the outside world. A SIM card fitted as standard in the BMW i3 is the key that unlocks the BMW ConnectedDrive services – in their recalibrated 2013 guise – available to the new electric model.
BMW Group Australia is currently finalising the availability of ConnectedDrive features on the BMW i3. More information will be available closer to launch.
Integrated approach: 360° ELECTRIC provides an all-encompassing
energy supply and mobility solution.
The aim in determining the range of the BMW i3 was to ensure that customers could cover their typical energy needs by charging the car two or three times per week. The studies carried out as part of project i – involving more than 1,000 participants and conducted over some 20 million kilometres – revealed that the average daily distance covered was around 45 kilometres. Customers can charge their cars using either the wallbox supplied by BMW i or a conventional domestic power socket.
BMW Group Australia is finalising the availability of 360° ELECTRIC features on the BMW i3. More information will be available closer to launch.
Sustainability throughout the value chain.
The revolutionary character of the BMW i3 is based on an overall concept which has been systematically designed from the ground up to provide sustainable mobility, and incorporates an unusually large number of technical features geared towards maximum efficiency. The new concept in premium mobility embodied by BMW i – “next premium” – is however, not just focused on the vehicle itself.
When it comes to the choice of materials, the production process, the supply chain and recycling, the BMW i3 likewise sets unrivalled standards for sustainability in the automotive industry.
The BMW Group production network also builds the BMW i3’s electric motor and battery. At its Dingolfing and Landshut plants in Lower Bavaria, the BMW Group has created a “competence network” for electric mobility. The BMW plant in Dingolfing produces the battery, the transmission and the aluminium Drive module structure, while the BMW Landshut plant produces CFRP components for the Life module, plastic exterior parts, castings and the cockpit of the BMW i3.
The lightweight design strategy specially developed for BMW i models makes extensive use of the lightweight, corrosion-proof and crash-resistant high-tech material CFRP. CFRP components are around 50 per cent lighter than corresponding steel components with comparable properties. In this field, the BMW Group is breaking new ground – both in the use of this innovative material and in its manufacture and processing.
Sustainability at every stage – including production.
The production of the BMW i3 sets new standards in environmental protection and consumes around 50 per cent less energy and around 70 per cent less water in comparison with the current average figures for production in the BMW Group, which are already extremely efficient.
All the electricity used to produce the BMW i models at the Leipzig plant is wind-generated and therefore 100 per cent renewable. This is the first time an automobile manufacturing plant in Germany has installed wind turbines on site to directly power production.
Likewise, all the energy used in carbon fibre production in Moses Lake is entirely derived from renewable, locally generated hydroelectric power and is therefore completely carbon-free.
BMW i is thus achieving the goal it envisaged at the outset: compared to the World Green Car of the Year 2008 – the BMW 118d – the BMW i3’s carbon footprint is around a third smaller. And if the customer runs the BMW i3 on power generated from renewable sources, its performance is 50 per cent better again.