Ready for the electrification of BMW? It’s coming, and sooner than you think.
Speaking with BMW North America Vice President of Communications Dirk Arnold, we confirmed that the BMW i3 will begin production at the end of 2013 and go on sale during the first quarter of 2014.
Already well on its way in the development cycle, BMW debuted its BMW i3 Coupe Concept at November’s Los Angeles Auto Show, and is once again showing it in Detroit. It features a full carbon fiber body, aiding its lightness. BMW says the biggest difference between the concept and the production model will be the door count, making it a full five-door hatch.
It is estimated that the BMW i3 will weigh under 3,000 pounds and be powered by a 170-horsepower electric motor, helping it hit a 0 to 60 mph time under 8 seconds. Additionally, BMW says it will be good for a range of up to 100 miles, or it will be able to travel farther with its range-extending gas engine, anticipated to be a small three-cylinder mill.
Production is expected to begin this October using carbon fiber produced in a jointly owned plant with SGL in Moses Lake, Washington. BMW chose the location because of Washington’s heavy reliance on hydro electricity. You know, clean energy. The car will be the first car under $100,000 to feature a full carbon fiber structure. BMW will able to pull this off with newer, cheaper methods of construction using carbon fiber more suited for cars than aerospace–unlike most everything else in the market.
Expect the BMW i3 to start around the price of a 5 Series, or a bit more than $50,000. That will make it primed to compete with the 2014 Cadillac ELR that’s based on the Chevrolet Volt mechanicals. We’re eager to compare the two when they reach dealers.