Our colleagues over at Motor Trend caught a camouflage prototype of the BMW i8 electric hybrid sports car testing in Sweden. Cold weather testing an electric or hybrid electric car such as the BMW i8 is especially important as the extreme temperatures can negatively affect battery operation.
The test mule spied here closely resembles the concept car shown at several auto shows. It is disguised with blue and white camo. The doors appear to be more production ready than the exposed-glass ones of the i8 concept car. The rear taillamps are also different, but likely for testing, but not the production BMW i8.
The BMW i8 uses a 129 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque electric motor routed through a single-speed gear reduction transmission for the front axle and a rear-mounted, 220-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter inline three-cylinder engine (essentially half a 3.0-liter I-6) that produces 221 lb-ft of torque to drive the rear wheels. The gas engine will mate to some sort of automatic transmission, possibly a six-speed unit. A 7.2 kW-hr lithium-ion battery pack supplies the electric motor its juice. BMW says the i8 could return about 87 mpg, yet could sprint from 0 to 62 mph in about 4.6 seconds.
BMW plans to launch the i8 plug-in hybrid sports coupe by the end of 2013. Click over to Motor Trend to see the full gallery of photos of BMW’s hybrid electric sports car.