Now that the BMW i3 Concept has made its way through much of the auto show circuit, it’s time to test the production model. While we definitely liked the concept’s excessive use of glass through much of the body, it looks to be just for show.
The folks at Motor Trend snapped these photos of an i3 tester, which, appears to have a more traditional belt line with windows that begin to narrow past the B-pillar. Also note the single door handle at each side, which means the suicide rear doors -- which open after the front doors have been opened -- will probably make it into production. Aside from that trick feature, the i3 appears no different than most five-door hatches on the road today. Size-wise it’s similar to the Mini Cooper Countryman, but with 10 inches shaved from the front and a few inches less ground clearance due to the battery pack. Construction of the i3 consists of an all-aluminum chassis with a carbon-fiber body attached by bolted and adhesive.
The all-electric, rear-drive power train includes a lithium-ion battery and a motor rated at 168 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Range is estimated at 80-100 miles per charge, although BMW will offer an optional range-extending gas engine for those with longer commutes and range anxiety. Launch date is set for 2013 and no price has been set yet, but expect this premium EV to be priced as such, which means more than the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.
Source: Motor Trend