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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
For anyone who follows electric cars.

I was at an event in London last week where BMW showed off the first car in their new i sub-brand, and they kindly allowed me to take my camera. If anyone's interested, then, for whatever it's worth, my photos are here.

The models on show were the pure EV version, not the "range extender" plug-in hybrid version.
 

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It is not a hybrid per se. It's an EV with an available "REx" (range extender). The REx version is about $3,800 extra.

The i3 goes about 100 miles on a charge, then the REx kicks in, but only has a gallon or so of fuel capacity. So you get another 80-100 miles or so from the REx, before having to plug in or add more fossil fuel. It would make for a LONG cross country trip if having to fill up every 80 miles.

Basically i3 is a city car, with 3 series interior room, 5 series level of equipment, and Mini Cooper S level handling. (As per BMW product spec brief).




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As freezin4 says, it isn't an actual hybrid, since the small 2 cylinder engine only charges the battery for a limited time. According to BMW tech folks, the amount of range extension is limited by fuel capacity. One has to wonder why they want to impose that limitation if they go to the trouble to add the gasoline engine? Why not measure up to the Volt in terms of range extension?

I drove this car recently when it visited Richmond. It had very strong acceleration, like most electrics, and is a refined and attractive design. I think it is fairly expensive relative to the Leaf which might be a reasonable comparison. The interior room seemed similar to my daughter's Mini.

I thought the chassis was interesting and innovative. The passenger cabin is of lightweight carbon reinforced plastic. The cabin sits on an aluminum lower drive module which contains the suspension attachments and houses the electric motor in front, and the gas engine in back. Not sure of weight, but it is probably listed on their website.
 

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The BMW i product specialist who gave us the brief at the BMW dealership said they intended it to be a city car with BMW DNA. The REx is just to alleviate range anxiety.
If you want to know a truly special car, check out the i8. ;)
 

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I recall reading that the small fuel tank was to qualify for some California HOV or tax rebate requirement which used a ratio of the gas range compared to the electric range. (Smaller gas tank lowers the gas range). The car is very efficient on the battery but the range extender only gets 39mpg once the battery runs out.
 

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