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Monday, July 7, 2014

BMW’s new all-electric i3

The EPA recently rated BMW’s new all-electric i3 at 124 MPGe , most efficient car in the U.S. market.

While this is only nine MPGe better than the comparably sized Nissan LEAF, the  

i3 upholds BMW’s reputation for manufacturing luxury cars that offer a superior driving experience. How BMW created a car with greater efficiency without sacrificing performance or functionality is mostly due to its holistic design approach and use of advanced lightweight materials.

Unlike many car manufacturers, BMW didn’t take an existing platform and adapt it to electric drive, but designed the i3 from the ground up. Its design in many ways reflects a shift away from traditional car design due to the fundamentally different way an electric vehicle operates.

There is no longer an engine or radiator, usually housed under the hood, so there is no need for extra length at the front of the vehicle. Similarly, there is no longer an exhaust system or traditional transmission and thus no need to accommodate these systems under the passenger, sometimes done today through the mound on the floor that runs the length of the interior and separates driver from passenger. But there are a large and relatively hefty battery back, new power electronics, and an electric motor to put somewhere.

To accommodate and best take advantage of these many differences, designers started from scratch. That’s why the battery pack essentially forms the foundation of the i3, creating a battery platform on which the rest of the vehicle sits and giving it a low center of gravity, contributing to good handling and stability. Simplified EV componentry perhaps made the i3’s flat floor, with no center console, easier to execute, giving the i3 more interior space. It also provided a surprising safety benefit—the driver can more easily exit or enter from the passenger door while parked on high-traffic city streets. The occupants are also shifted forward relative to a standard design and the footprint is very small considering the amount of interior volume it provides. To put things in perspective, BMW’s i3 offers as much interior space as the automaker’s 3-series sedan, but the i3 is a full two feet shorter.

As for performance, the i3 is legitimately quick, accelerating from 0 to 60 in 7.4 seconds.

Source: Clean Technica
Posted by: Er_Sanch.