- Make: BMW
- Model: i3
- First available: November 2013
- Next Upgrade: March 2017
- Electric/Hybrid: Electric
- Seats: 4
- Acceleration to 100km/h (60mph): 7.2s
- Range: 186 miles 300 km
Price: $43,395Price: €34'950
Range & Battery
- 60 Ah
- 94 Ah
- 94 Ah w/Range Extender
- less than 30 minutes at public DC
- less than 40 minutes (0-80% charge)
- 18h at 110V
- 3 to 5h at 220V
- 0.5 to 0.75h at 440V
Innovation & Self-driving
- BMW i ConnectedDrive solutions – is the first car to come with full connectivity as standard.
- BMW i Navigation with Range Assistant – includes a dynamic range map and charging station display to help you find the most efficient way to your destination.
- BMW i Remote App – lets you keep an eye on your car when you are away from it. For example, you can remotely control and monitor and adjust the temperature of your car before unplugging.
- BMW i Mobile Care package – this means that professional help is available over the phone for any unforeseen events that affect the vehicle or charging, and provides assistance quickly at your location, if needed.
Carbon Fiber Construction – Strong And Light
BMW engineers designed the i3 to be an electric car from the ground up, using a clean sheet of paper. BMW has also made the move to advanced materials, leaving conventional welded metal unibody construction methods behind.
The BMW i3 combines an extremely light carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) structure with plastic outer body panels and an aluminum drive module. The CFRP material is so rigid that B-pillars are not required for structural strength. This allows for rear-hinged rear doors, which create a wide, unobstructed space for all passengers to enter and exit the vehicle. The efficient, upright design provides plenty of room for four passengers within a small, easy-to-park footprint. Large glass surfaces combine a feeling of airiness with excellent visibility.
Electric Power For The City – And The Country
The i3 is powered by a synchronous 125 kW electric motor with an output of 170 hp and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, all available the moment you accelerate. This produces acceleration times of 0 to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds, and 50 to 75 mph in 4.9 seconds for rapid passing. A single-speed transmission transmits power to the rear wheels, providing an uninterrupted rush of power from a standing start all the way to its efficiency-limited top speed of 93 mph. Energy is stored in a 33 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Two powertrain options are available on the i3. The pure electric version can travel up to 114 miles on a charge, while the optional range extender version provides a range of up to 180 miles. The range extender is a two-cylinder gasoline engine with an output of 38 hp and a 2.4 gallon gas tank capacity. It acts as a generator to recharge the battery, increasing the i3’s range by 66 miles.
The 2017 i3 has a 7.4 kW onboard charger. The time required to fully charge its battery is 4.5 hours or less at a 240-volt Level 2 charging station.
Please read all our BMW Electric Cars reviews.
Connectivity – There’s An App For That!
The BMW i3’s GPS-based navigation system is totally integrated with the vehicle’s drive systems. It gathers data on charge level, traffic, area topography and driving style to plot the most efficient route to an objective. It will even suggest subway or rapid transit options that can get owners to their destinations faster. The navigation map can receive over-the-air updates.
The BMW i3 can also be synced to a smartphone. The BMW i Remote app lets owners remotely check battery charge level, control automatic charging, pre-heat or cool the interior, and sync destinations. Unfortunately, there is no in-car wi-fi.
Also missing from the 2017 BMW i3 are any of the accident prevention systems that are now appearing on many mass market cars as standard equipment. There’s no Automatic Emergency Braking, no Lane Departure Warning, no Smart Cruise Control, no Blind Spot Detection, no Rear Cross-traffic Alert, and no Lane Change Assist.
Driving The i3 – It’s An Electric BMW
BMW has provided the i3 with the same fun-to-drive character that its gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles are known for. The combination of a lightweight, rigid structure, battery pack placed low in the floor, and a highly responsive electric motor results in excellent performance and handling. The steering has a fast ratio and good feel, the ride is compliant. If you are interested in the BMW of the electric future, the future is now.
- spectacular design
- extremely light body
- still relatively low range, compared to Tesla
Please also read our published Electric Car reviews of other makes and models.