World’s First Look: BMW iBrand i3 and i8 Concepts
FRANKFURT– Today I was in Frankfurt where BMW presented the iBrand concept models of its first electric and first plug-in hybrid vehicles. The new sub brand for sustainable mobility of the Bavarian car manufacturer will introduce the production models of the compact electric i3 and the plug-in hybrid sports car i8 on markets world wide in 2013. The development of the i3 started in 2007 under what was internally called Project-i. The first car that was part of the development process was the electric Mini E. It was presented at the LA Auto Show in November 2008 and in 2010 a fleet of test cars hit several big cities worldwide in 2010.
By the end of this year a second vehicle will be used for tests: the BMW Active E. The outcome of the use of the Mini E was beneficial for the development of the i3, since it confirmed BMWs idea that a range of around 80-100 miles would be sufficient for use in the so-called mega cities. Drivers testing the Mini E usually did not go any further than some 25 miles per day. BMWs goals has always been a range of 90 miles. The name Mega City Vehicle was used as the work name for BMWs first electric vehicle, the one that now has been presented as i3 Concept. The design of the production model will be somewhat different, but Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Groups vice-president for design, said that it is pretty close. That is also is the case with the i8 Concept which is the forebode for the 2+2 sports plug-in hybrid sports car.
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