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BMW Details 2014 i3 Electric Vehicle Photo:
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TMR Team | Jul, 10 2013 | 1 Comment

The unveiling of BMW's 2014 i3 light car is nearly upon us, at last, and now the carmaker has revealed a number of key technical details for the new electric hatch.

As promised, the i3 will be offered in two forms: the pure-electric version first previewed in 2011, and the range-extended petrol-electric version revealed earlier this year.

In both cases, electric motivation is provided by a 125kW/250Nm rear-mounted motor (just like the concept), sending power to the rear wheels through a single-speed transmission.

BMW promises a 0-60km/h time of 3.7 seconds (most relevant to city driving, the i3's focus), and a 0-100km/h time of 7.2 seconds - making it a match for most light 'hot hatches'.

The 50kg electric motor is fed by a lithium-ion battery pack developed and manufactured by BMW directly, giving the pure-electric model a driving range of 130 to 160 kilometres off one charge.

The battery pack can be charged to 80 percent capacity on a 50kW fast charge system, or 100 percent in around eight hours on a regular home power point.

Opting for the range-extended model adds a 25kW 650cc two-cylinder motorcycle-derived petrol engine to the mix, mounted alongside the electric motor.

BMW says that with the range-extending petrol engine in play, day-to-day driving range increases to around 250 to 300 kilometres.

But, if buyers find on any occasion that their i3's range isn't going to meet their travel requirements, the company will also offer a '360° ELECTRIC' service that will include loan cars - described as "flexible mobility solutions".

The i3's body is built around BMW's LifeDrive architecture - announced at the 2011 concept unveiling - which includes a mostly aluminium chassis and a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic passenger cell.

All of this contributes to a kerb weight of around 1195kg, and BMW promises 50:50 weight distribution.

Suspension is by aluminium single-joint MacPherson struts up front and a five-link arrangement at the rear.

The i3 measures 3999mm long and rides on a 2570mm wheelbase, comparing favourably to - for example - Volkswagen's Polo hatch, which measures 3952mm and 2470mm respectively.



Full Australian details are still to be confirmed, although it is understood that local sales will begin next year.

Local pricing has also not been revealed, but international prices are believed to begin at around US$34,500 - and only then because of various tax credits offered in overseas markets.

In Australia, with Nissan's Leaf priced close to $40,000 and the Holden Volt at $60,000 - and no government incentives on offer - we could expect the i3 to land closer to $70,000.

Watch for the i3 to be given a full unveiling later this month.

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