BMW was the first among legacy car makers to introduce an electric vehicle (EV). This vehicle named the BMW i3 first came into the market in 2013.
The concept car was first shown to the world at the International Motor Show in Germany in 2011. So BMW has come a long way in EV making.
Here are some interesting facts about the fully-electric BMW i3.
Interesting Facts About BMW i3
1. BMW uses this vehicle is to forge its way into the zero emissions environmentally friendly EV platform for cars. The i3 was intended for intra-city short range travel for the urban dwellers. The range could be extended by specifying a range extender engine which is fitted as an optional accessory.
2. The BMW i3 was so popular in Europe and in the US that it has been upgraded with new versions almost every year. With each new version comes a higher kWh capacity with the corresponding higher range.
Description of the BMW i3
3. The BMW was conceived to be a luxury subcompact (B-class) high roof 5-door hatchback. It is intended mainly as a second car for urbanites who work, shop or travel in the city. Hence they need to charge up the car a couple of times a week since the car has a shorter range.
4. The car would have a rear traction motor driving the rear wheels via a single speed reduction gearbox. The lithium-ion battery would be fitted below the floor like in many other EVs.
5. The i3 was designed to be lightweight (about 1200 kg) among the EVs. It is the first mass produced car with its internals and body made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). Light weight environmental-friendly materials are also used for the doors, dashboard and other internals.
Electrical System of the BMW i3
6. This BMW i3 has a rather modest battery capacity compared to the cars released nowadays. This is consistent with BMW objective of having an environmentally green city-use car. The first i3 only had a 16 kWh battery powering a 170hp specially developed motor. This gave a range of 100 miles . It could be fully charged in 4 hours with a home charger. BMW’s studies of EV owners behavioral patterns indicated that most owners charged their car twice a week.
7. The 2019 i3 version was given a battery of 43 kWh. This extended the range to 153 miles. The consumption was 30 kWh per 100 miles.
8. An InsideEV article recently reported that batteries from the earliest cars showed only marginal drop in capacity even after a high mileage has been done. No battery was ever reported to need to be replaced due to premature aging. This record has led to BMW now giving a longer warranty of 8 years (or 100,000 miles) on their batteries for new European sales.
9. The used batteries with marginally degraded capacity have been deployed as stationary energy storage devices in renewable energy management.
10. The i3 owners can charge their cars from various types of chargers. A home BMW wall AC charger can charge within 3 hours. The i3 owner can use a public DC fast charger to fill up the 22 kWh battery to 80% within 30 minutes. Those with batteries of higher kWh will take proportionately longer times.
Performance of the BMW i3
11. The top speed of the earliest car was limited to 93 mph. The acceleration times (0 – 60mph) of the i3 was less than 8 seconds. This is rather fast when compared to a conventional car. It is appropriate for its role as city friendly, comfortable and stylish commute.
12. Like other EVs, regenerative braking is used to help increase the range of the car. This occurs when the gas pedal is released. During this time the kinetic energy is converted to electrical energy and is used to recharge the batteries.
13. Those i3 which are optionally fitted with a Range Extender engine will have an additional range of 50 miles. This is of good help to those who need to make periodic short inter-city trips.
14. More than 130,000 i3 have been sold worldwide. USA sales topped the list with 6,000 units in 2018.