The BMW i3 goes on sale mid 2014 with a base MSRP of $41,350

BMW is taking the idea of an electric powered future very serious. The BMW i3, a small electric vehicle that has a physical  footprint similar to a BMW 1-Series; yet, has the interior space of a 3-Series, is about to be unleashed. BMW has announced that the BMW i3 will be available during the second quarter of 2014 for base MSRP of $41,350 – before state and federal discounts.

BMW wants to strongly emphasize that the BMW i3 is a true BMW with excellent driving dynamics. It weighs a scant 2,700 lbs, so the hybrid synchronous electric motor’s output of 170 hp and 184-lbs-feet of torque should be ample. The BMW i3’s 0 to 60 mph time is said to be approximately 7.2-seconds with the USA’s top speed electronically limited to (currently) 93 mph.

There is a one-speed transmission that will, like most electric cars, have an accelerator that will slow the car when pressure is retracted. This will feed the regenerative braking system and feed the batteries. The BMW i3 will have an extremely tight turning radius and will have 50/50 weight distribution.

You can read the previous TFLCar post about the BMW i3 (here).

BMW conducted extensive market research to determine the baseline mileage they wanted to exceed. According to BMW: “The BMW i3 will be able to travel 80 to 100 miles on a single charge. This can be increased by up to approximately 12% in ECO PRO mode and by the same amount again in ECO PRO+ mode. It is able to recharge in only 3 hours with the use of a 220V Level 2, 32-amp J1772 charger. The SAE DC Combo Fast Charging, which charges the BMW i3 up to 80% in 20 minutes, and 100% in 30, can be had as an option.”

Now comes the cool part for hybrid lovers: there will be an optional 650cc, 34 hp, two-cylinder, gasoline-powered engine which will serve as a range-extending generator. It holds 2.4-gallons of gas and weighs 330-lbs. It works like a true generator by feeding the batteries directly, never powering the wheels. This means the power received from the gas engine option will not be have to exceed a base level RPM, thus maintaining a small carbon footprint.

“The Drive Module, which is constructed out of 100% aluminum, consists of the 22-kWh, 450 lb. lithium-ion battery, electric drive train, MacPherson strut and 5-link rear suspension system and structural and crash components. The battery mounted in the rear, close to the drive wheels, gives impressive performance characteristics while also providing better traction.


Even the vehicle’s key is sustainably manufactured. The source material of the new bio-polymer key is based on castor oil pressed from castor seeds. The owner’s manual is also made from renewable resources.

The interior is made using high quality renewable sources and recycled materials. The BMW i3 has the Next Premium interior, which blends sustainable resources with a premium feel for the same interior quality as the BMW 5 Series Sedan. 25% of the plastics in the interior and 25% of the thermoplastic parts on the exterior are made from either recycled materials or renewable sources.


Since 1999 according to the DOE, average gasoline prices in America have increased from approximately $1.136 to $3.618, or about a 218%. In the same time, the pricing of electricity has increased from 6.6 cents to 9.9 cents, a change of only 50%, making electricity a far more attractive commodity from a pricing standpoint.

Speaking of electric cars, check out our video review of the Tesla Model S!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum.  His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.
Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.

Here’s the technical data from BMW. Keep in mind: there may be a few tweaks, but this looks like just about everything an anti-technophobe needs to be sustained.

BMW i3 Quick-Reference Highlights.

Pricing (before federal or local incentives) starts at $41,350; $45,200 for Range Extender model. Destination & Handling Fee not included.
On Sale: Q2 of 2014 in the USA.
BMW’s 360 Electric electro mobility services.
BMW i Remote app, which connects with the car.
BMW Navigation is standard.
BMW Intelligent Emergency Call (‘eCall”), Anti theft alarm and Rear Parking Distance Control are standard.

170-hp, 184 lb-ft hybrid-synchronous electric motor with max. revs of 11,400 rpm.
80-100 mile real-world EV range.
22-kWh lithium-ion battery, which weighs 450 lbs.
650cc gasoline powered Range Extender optional; holds charge, doesn’t power wheels.
0-30mph in 3.5 seconds, 0-60mph in approximately 7.0 seconds (preliminary).
Top speed of 93 mph, electronically limited to preserve efficiency.
BMW’s signature, near-perfect 50-50 weight distribution.
Ultra-tight turning radius (32.3 ft), which is ideal for city driving.
Macpherson strut front and 5-link rear suspension set up.
Single Pedal Driving Concept with Brake Energy Regeneration, which feeds power back into battery.
3 drive modes: Comfort, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+.
3 hour 220 V @32 amps charging time.
Optional SAE DC Combo Fast Charging allows for 80% charge in 20mins; 100% in 30 mins.


Chassis and Body.
Purpose built construction. World’s first mass-produced CFRP-constructed electric vehicle.
Built on innovative LifeDrive architecture composed of two parts: Life Module and Drive Module.
Life Module is essentially the cabin, constructed from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP).
Drive Module is where all of the powertrain components are housed.
Drive Module is made from 100% aluminum.
Magnesium cross-member for instrument panel saves 20% weight vs. steel.
BMW 1 Series external footprint with BMW 3 Series interior space.
Adaptive Full LED headlights and LED taillights (standard in US market).
Weighs in at roughly 2,700 lbs.
No space-consuming transmission tunnel dividing car’s interior.
Pillar-less design with rear coach doors allow for easy entry and exit to rear seats.
Driver-oriented super-ergonomic controls.
Three vehicle Worlds (trim levels): Mega (standard in US), Giga, and Tera.
Standard 19-inch light alloy wheels with unique 155/70 all-season tires. 20-inch light alloy wheels optional.
No transmission tunnel and low console allows for Slide-through Experience, which benefits urban driving by the ability to exit from the passenger side.


Made with sustainable, renewable materials.
Instrument panel surround and door trim use fibers from Kenaf plant.
Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof panel is made partially with recycled CFRP from manufacturing process of other components
25% of plastic used in interior comprised of recycled materials.
Dashboard wood trim crafted from responsibly-forested eucalyptus.
CFRP components are sustainably produced in Moses Lake, WA, USA, where the factory uses hydroelectric power.
The Leipzig, Germany assembly plant uses wind-generated electricity.
Olive-leaf extract is used to tan interior leather surfaces.