BMW i

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BMW i
Sub-brand of BMW
Industry Automotive industry
Founded 2011
Products Plug-in electric vehicles
Owner BMW
Parent BMW

The BMW i is a sub-brand of BMW founded in 2011 to design and manufacture plug-in electric vehicles.[1][2][3] The company's initial plans call for the release of two vehicles; the i3 all-electric car and the i8 plug-in hybrid. Concept versions of both these vehicles were shown at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.[4]

Series production of the BMW i3 destined for retail customers began in September 2013,[5] and the European market launch took place in November 2013 with the first retail deliveries in Germany.[6] The BMW i8 was launched in Germany in June 2014.[7] The United States, Germany, the UK and Norway are the main markets for both models.

BMW i sales reached the 50,000 unit milestone in January 2016.[8] As of December 2015, the all-electric i3 is the brand's leading model with global sales of over 41,500 units.[9][10][11] Two years after its introduction, the BMW i3 ranked as the world's third best selling all-electric car in history.[12]

History[edit]

Project i

BMW's "Project i" is a program created to develop lightweight eco-friendly urban electric car concepts designed to address the mobility and sustainability needs for people who live in megacities.[1][2] According to BMW, "Project i" has three phases. The Mini E demonstration was the first phase of this project, and it was followed by a similar field testing that began in January 2012 with the BMW ActiveE all-electric vehicle. The ActiveE is based on the BMW 1 Series Coupe and is built based on the lessons learned from the Mini E trial. The last phase of "Project i" was the development of the i3 and i8 electric cars.[1][13][14]

The automaker expects that its first series production all-electric drive vehicle will help it achieve an overall fleet fuel economy average of 6.63 L/100 km (35.5 mpg) by 2016, as mandated by U.S. federal regulations. BMW expects high volume sales of the i3 to allow the company to continue selling several of its high-performance cars with low fuel economy in the U.S.[13]

BMW i Park Lane showroom in London.

In February 2011, BMW announced a new sub-brand, BMW i, to market the vehicles produced under Project i. BMW i vehicles are to be sold separately from BMW or Mini. The first two production models are the battery electric Mega City Vehicle, now called BMW i3, and a plug-in hybrid called BMW i8, which is the production version of the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and has an all-electric range of 50 kilometres (31 mi). Production of both plug-in electric cars was scheduled to start in Leipzig in 2013.[3][15]

Global i3 sales passed the 25,000 unit milestone in May 2015.[16] Combined global sales of the BMW i brand models passed the 30,000 mark in June 2015,[17] and the 50,000 unit milestone in January 2016.[8]

Stores

The first BMW i store opened in June 2012 at BMW’s London Park Lane showroom. The carmaker premiered an updated version of the BMW i3 concept electric car and unveiled its i Pedelec electric bicycle concept.[18] On November 15, 2013, retail deliveries for the i3 began with a special ceremony in Munich.[6]

Using eDrive in core-brand BMW models

On 1 December 2014, BMW announced the group is planning to offer plug-in hybrid versions of all its core-brand models using eDrive technology developed for its BMW i brand plug-in vehicles. The goal of the company is to use plug-in technology to continue offering high performance vehicles while reducing CO2 emissions below 100g/km. The carmaker is already testing a BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid prototype.[19] In February 2016, BMW announced the introduction of the "iPerformance" model designation, which will be given to all BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles from July 2016. The aim is to provide a visible indicator of the transfer of technology from BMW i to the BMW core brand.[20]

Official fleet of BMW i3s and BMW i8s on duty at the 2016 Paris ePrix, France

Products[edit]

BMW i8 (left) and i3 (right) concept cars unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt International Motor Show.

As of May 2016, only two models are offered, the BMW i3 all-electric car with optional range-extender (REx), and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid. BMW intends a family car above the i3 to have an optional range extender.[21] As of May 2016, BMW i is present in 50 countries, with both the i3 and i8 plug-in vehicles.[22]

As of November 2015, the i3 ranked as the world's third best selling all-electric car in history.[12] As of December 2015, the United States was the top selling market for both plug-ins, with 17,116 BMW i3s (41.2%) and 2,820 BMW i8s (39.2%).[23] As of April 2016, a total of 56,092 units of both i brand vehicles have been sold worldwide since 2013, of which, 17,793 units were sold in 2014, and 29,513 units in 2015.[9][10][11][24][25]

The demand for BMW i and iPerformance vehicles increased significantly during the first half of 2016. Four percent of all BMW sales in Western Europe in June 2016 were electrified cars, with the Netherlands representing 14.9% of all BMWs sold in June and in Scandinavia 13.2% of all BMWs sold in June were BMW i or BMW iPerformance models.[26] In the United States, sales of plug-in electric models represented 3.5% of BMW total sales in the country between January and June 2016, the highest share of plug-in vehicles sold for any carmaker in the American market except for Tesla Motors.[27]

BMW i3[edit]

Main article: BMW i3

Design and technology[edit]

The BMW i3 is an electric car, BMW's first zero emissions mass-produced vehicle. The i3 is the first volume production vehicle on the market featuring carbon-fiber reinforced plastic.[28] This vehicle gets its power from an electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries. The i3 is built for everyday use, with an all-electric range of 130 to 160 km (81 to 99 mi). BMW is offering a range extender (“REx”) option powered by a 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine with a 9 L (2.0 imp gal; 2.4 US gal) fuel tank that engages when the battery level drops to a pre-specified point, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to about 240 to 300 km (150 to 190 mi).[29]

BMW i3 charging

According to BMW, at the beginning of the i3 release, the use of range-extender was much more than the carmaker expected, more than 60%. Over time it has decreased significantly, with some people almost never using it, and by early 2016 it is being regularly used in fewer than 5% of i3s.[21]

In May 2016, BMW announced that the 2017 model year (MY) BMW i3 will come with an improved battery pack with 50% more capacity (33 kWh) than the previous model with a corresponding range increase expected to achieve 114 mi (183 km) under the EPA cycle, and 195 mi (314 km) under the New European Driving Cycle.[22][30] The Range Extender (REx) variant will also feature the same higher capacity battery as the all-electric model, with a corresponding all-electric range increase.[22] Deliveries of the 2017 MY i3 in the U.S. market are scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2016.[31] Both variants with the improve battery will be available in the UK starting in July 2016.[30]

Production[edit]

BMW invested US$100 million to build a plant in Moses Lake, Washington to manufacture the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic used on the vehicles' body panels.[13] The plant is located in an area that has large access to hydroelectric power.[13] The carbon fiber is then shipped to Germany, where it first gets fabricated and is then shipped to the automotive production plant in Leipzig.[13]

BMW i3 badge

Markets and sales[edit]

The first i3 deliveries to retail customers in Europe took place at the official market launch ceremony held in Munich on 15 November 2013.[6] The i3 was also launched in the UK in November 2013.[32] The release in the American market took place in May 2014.[33] As of November 2015, the BMW i3 is available in 49 countries, and with the core phase of the market introduction finished, only some smaller markets are still to follow.[12]

As of December 2015, the United States ranked as the i3 top selling market with 17,116 units sold,[34][35] followed by Germany with 5,063 units registered,[36][37][38] Norway with 4,494 units,[39][40][41] and the UK with 3,747 units registered.[42][43] As of April 2016, global sales totaled 47,438 units, of which, 16,052 units were delivered in 2014, and 24,057 in 2015.[9][10][11][25][44]

Two years after it market launch, the BMW i3 became the top selling electric vehicle in Germany. In Norway the BMW i3 has been the best-selling model across the entire BMW range during 2015.[12] The i3 ranked third among all-electric cars sold worldwide in 2014, after the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S.[45][46] The BMW i3 was again the world's third best selling all-electric car in 2015, and also ranked fifth in 2015 among the world's top selling plug-in electric cars.[47] As of November 2015, the i3 ranked as the world's third best selling all-electric car in history.[12]

BMW i8[edit]

Main article: BMW i8
BMW i8 badge

The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid is the production version of the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics concept unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and has an all-electric range of 35 kilometres (22 mi). Production of both plug-in electric cars is scheduled to start in Leipzig in 2013.[3] Powering the front wheels will be an electric motor (131 hp), while the rear wheels will make use of a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder gasoline engine (231 hp).[48] Zero to 60 mph sprint timings are estimated to be less than 4.5 seconds using both power sources.[4] The positioning of the motor and engine over the axles also makes it benefit from a 50/50 weight distribution.[48]

The production version of the i8 was unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.[49] BMW plans to sell the i8 in about 50 countries, with the U.S. expected to be the largest sales market. In Europe, the UK, Germany and France are expected to be the top markets.[50] Retail deliveries began in Germany in June 2014.[7] Deliveries to retail customers in the U.S. started in August 2014.[51]

As of December 2015, global sales totaled 7,197 i8s, of which, 1,741 units were sold in 2014, and 5,456 in 2015.[10][11] The United States is the leading market with 2,820 units delivered through December 2015,[34][35] followed by the UK with 823 units registered at the end of June 2015,[42] and Germany with 793 units registered through December 2015.[37][38] In 2015 global sales of the BMW i8 exceeded the combined figure of all other hybrid sports cars produced by other manufacturers.[52]

Life-Drive[edit]

Both the i3 and i8 will benefit from BMW’s Life-Drive platform which makes use of light-weight materials.[2] Both cars will come with an aluminum chassis, and in the case of the i8, the windshield, top, doors and fenders are made from polycarbonate glass, with the body having a drag coefficient of 0.26.[53]

EPA ratings[edit]

The following are the BMW i3 and i8 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ratings for all-electric range and fuel economy.

BMW i3 EPA ratings [54][55][56]
Model Year
model
Fuel/EV range Combined City Highway Notes
BEV 2014/15/16 81 mi (130 km) 124 mpg-e
(27 kW-hrs/100 mi)
137 mpg-e
(25 kW-hrs/100 mi)
111 mpg-e
(30 kW-hrs/100 mi)
Since May 2014 the all-electric BMW i3 is the most fuel efficient
EPA-certified vehicle of all years regardless of fuel type.[57]
REx 2014/15/16 Electricity only
72 mi (116 km)
117 mpg-e
(29 kW-hrs/100 mi)
97 mpg-e 79 mpg-e The EPA classifies the i3 REx as a series plug-in hybrid or EREV[54][56][58]
while CARB as a range-extended battery-electric vehicle (BEVx).[59]
Since June 2014 the BMW i3 REx is the most fuel efficient
EPA-certified vehicle current year vehicle with a gasoline engine.[55][57]
Gasoline only
78 mi (126 km)
39 mpg 41 mpg 37 mpg
Total: 150 mi (240 km)
BMW i8 EPA ratings [60]
BMW i8 2014/15/16 Electricity only
15 mi (24 km)
76 mpg-e
(43 kW-hrs/100 mi)
- - The i8 does not run on 100% electricity as it consumes 0.1 gallons
per 100 mi in EV mode (all-electric range = 0 mi)
Gasoline only 28 mpg 28 mpg 29 mpg

Technology transfer to BMW brand[edit]

The BMW X5 xDrive40e is a plug-in hybrid with an all-electric range of 23 km (14 mi) that uses BMW i cars technology.

Launched in Europe and the U.S. in 2015, the BMW X5 xDrive40e is the first plug-in hybrid released under the core BMW brand. The use of BMW's eDrive technology on the established X5 platform is a direct technology transfer from the BMW i cars, in particular, from the BMW i8 technology.[61]

In February 2016, BMW announced the introduction of the "iPerformance" model designation, which will be given to all BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles from July 2016. The aim is to provide a visible indicator of the transfer of technology from BMW i to the BMW core brand.[20] The first BMW car launched to the market with the "iPerformance" model designation was the BMW 330e iPerformance, initially named the 330e. Deliveries in the American market are scheduled to begin in mid-2016.[62] The new designation will also be used on the plug-in hybrid variants of the new BMW 7 Series, the BMW 740e iPerformance.[20]

The iPerformance models will take advantage of technical expertise regarding electric motors, battery cells and electronic control systems. Visible indicators for the vehicles with this designation are a BMW i logo on the front side panel, BMW i-style blue elements in the kidney grille and wheel hubs, and an eDrive logo on the C-pillar. Customers can also make use of the BMW i 360° ELECTRIC range of products and services, including the BMW i Wallbox.[20]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  39. ^ Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) (January 2014). "CO2-utslippet i desember 2013" [CO2 emissions in December 2013] (in Norwegian). OFV. Retrieved 2016-01-17.  A total of 51 new i3s were registered in Norway in 2013.
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  41. ^ Norwegian Road Federation (OFV) (January 2016). "Bilsalget i desember" [Car sales in December] (in Norwegian). OFV. Retrieved 2016-01-17.  A total of 2,403 new i3s, including the REx variant, were registered in Norway in 2015.
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  47. ^ Cobb, Jeff (2016-01-12). "Tesla Model S Was World’s Best-Selling Plug-in Car in 2015". HybridCars.com. Retrieved 2016-01-23.  The Tesla Model S was the top selling plug-in electric car in 2015 (50,366), followed by the Nissan Leaf (about 43,000), the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV (about 39,000), the BYD Qin (31,898) and the BMW i3 (24,057).
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  53. ^ Hong, Patrick (2010). "Future Vision". Road & Track 61 (7): 40–45. 
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  55. ^ a b U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy (2014-07-25). "Fueleconomy.gov's Top Ten EPA-Rated Fuel Sippers (1984 to present) - All Years". fueleconomy.gov. Retrieved 2014-07-25.  Excludes all-electric vehicles. Click on the tab "EPA Rated - All Years. The 2013-2014 Chevrolet Volt has a combined fuel economy of 62 MPG-e.
  56. ^ a b United States Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy (2014-08-20). "Model Year 2014 Fuel Economy Guide - Electric vehicles & Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (updated August 2014)" (PDF). fueleconomy.gov. Retrieved 2014-08-26.  pp. 33 and 36
  57. ^ a b U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy (2014-07-25). "Most Efficient EPA Certified Vehicles". fueleconomy.gov. Retrieved 2014-07-25.  Current Model Year excludes all-electric vehicles.
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External links[edit]

Video