New York 2011: BMW i3 to Use Aluminum Platform, Carbon Fiber Shell

Now less than two years from production, more information is coming forward on BMW’s upcoming megacity car, the i3. Due out in 2013, the i3 will be powered by the electric powertrain that will be available this fall in the 2012 BMW ActiveE and will use an aluminum sandwich platform under a carbon fiber body cell.

The sandwich platform will allow for the batteries and electric motor to be stored flat underneath the passenger compartment. To add strength and reduce the car’s weight, the i3 will also use a carbon fiber “life cell” for a body shell, similar to many supercars. The aluminum and carbon fiber components are being used to reduce weight. The i3 will use the same powertrain setup as in the ActiveE, but thanks to the weight savings it will be able to use fewer batteries while still achieving the same 100-mile range.

The 2012 ActiveE uses lithium-ion batteries to power an electric motor, producing 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. To solve the cold-weather range-loss issues that BMW saw with the Mini E, the batteries use a liquid heating and cooling system to prep them (and the cabin) to the optimal temperature. BMW says that a full charge can be had in three to five hours with the seven-kilowatt charging station, or around 25 hours on a standard 110-volt outlet. BMW will be offering the ActiveE only on a 24-month lease for $499 per month with $2250 down payment; reservations for the car begin this summer for customers in the New York metro area, Los Angeles, San Diego, Boston, and Sacramento, with deliveries beginning this fall.

Rand Reed
I can't wait to get my hands on one of these!
Tom Moloughney
The ActiveE looks like a great bridge to the 2013 i3. Luckily for me I live in one of the release markets and I'm definitely applying to lease the ActiveE.

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