With advancements this far into the future, people are bound to be curious. Meet the all-electric
i3 Concept and plug-in hybrid i8 Concept.
Select a vehicle to explore
This visionary vehicle will be BMW Group's first Series-produced all-electric car. See how the i3 Concept is born electric.
UP TO 100 MILES PER CHARGE**estimated
RANGE EXTENDER AVAILABLE
This groundbreaking plug-in hybrid vehicle combines an electric motor with an internal combustion engine for the best of both worlds. See how the i8 Concept is born electric.
UP TO 87 MILES PER GALLON**estimated
0-60 IN LESS THAN 5 SECONDS**estimated
We started with four wheels. Beyond that, everything about the build of the i3 Concept is different than a typical car. Form follows function—from scratch—to lay the 100% electric foundation.
The BMW i3 Concept is engineered to take you further. The combination of a lithium-ion battery and an electric motor provides The Ultimate Driving Experience®. Developing impressive torque from a standstill, the i3 Concept uses its 170 hp and 184 lb-ft torque to accomplish 0 to 60 mph in under 8 seconds.* [* Specifications shown for Concept Vehicles]
The battery can be fully charged in approximately 3 hours with a level 2 wallbox at 32 amps.
While more than 90% of drivers average less than 100 miles per day — with most averaging just 30 miles per day* — an optional BEV+ (range extender) will be available for the i3 to approximately double the electric range. The BEV+ option is a small, smooth-running and quiet internal combustion engine. It generates electricity to maintain the battery charge level to make sure the vehicle can continue to run on electric power alone.
*Source: The U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
All-Electric Driving 1:18
Agile as a lightweight, strong as a heavyweight. That's what makes the aluminum Drive Module such an ideal and sustainable foundation for the i3 Concept.
The Drive Module combines the battery and drive system, plus a range of structural safety devices into a lightweight, high-strength compartment. Its small turning radius and direct steering response result in exceptional handling, making every ride a dynamic and nimble one.
A revolution starts with revolutionary thinking. And when developing a born-electric vehicle, BMW Group engineers did just that by rethinking the vehicle architecture. The result: the LifeDrive concept, consisting of two horizontally separate, independent modules.
The Drive Module is an aluminum chassis that forms a solid foundation and protects the battery. The lithium-ion battery cells are stored underneath the floor of the car, at the center of the Drive Module. This gives the vehicle optimum weight distribution and a low center of gravity.
The Life Module is a high-strength and lightweight passenger compartment made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). This, along with the use of aluminum, offsets the additional weight of the batteries of an electric car. And by reducing the weight, the number of batteries can also be reduced, which reduces the average battery charging time.
When you're born to change the way people drive, you've got to be lightweight, agile and strong. The i3 Concept uses carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) as the foundation for its LifeDrive architecture. CFRP is as strong as steel, but about half the weight.
The use of this high-tech material for the i3 Concept is unprecedented in mass vehicle production. The process begins with carbon fiber threads manufactured in the ultra-modern plant in Moses Lake, Washington. This plant is completely powered by renewable, hydroelectric power — helping to stay true to BMW i's focus on sustainability.
It may look futuristic, but it could be parked in your driveway before you know it.
The i3 Concept's dynamic design and innovative shape make the car feel as if it's always moving forward. The coach doors give access to the large, open space of the interior. And extensive glass surfaces give the vehicle a feeling of lightness, drawing attention to its low weight through the exposed carbon fiber structures.
As a whole, the interior of the i3 Concept is characterized by the visible use of natural resources, emphasizing BMW i's commitment to sustainability and engineering of premium, purpose-built electric vehicles.
i3 Concept 360 1:29Image Gallery
We're at the very forefront of the future of mobility, in need of a vehicle to take us even further. One that's all-electric, yet exhilarating. Light, yet powerful. Zero emissions. Zero guilt. The BMW i3 Concept will change the way you think about driving. This is tomorrow, today. This is intelligent mobility.
The BMW i3 will be available in late 2013.
In Motion 0:38Born Electric 1:50
When we set out to engineer the most exhilarating yet efficient plug-in hybrid, we had to start from the ground up. How else could we redefine the sports car?
The i8 Concept is electric at heart. It uses a modified electric drive system from the i3 Concept — fitted over its front axle — but carries fewer battery cells. These are stored inside the energy tunnel, a structure similar to a central transmission tunnel. The lithium-ion battery can be charged in approximately 3.5 hours with standard 120 volts at 12 amps. This allows the BMW i8 Concept to travel approximately 20 miles on electric power alone.
Both Worlds 1:29
When a car looks this fast, it better live up to its appearance. The i8 Concept does just that, with help from its powerful, yet sustainable turbocharged combustion engine situated at the rear axle. This 3-cylinder engine produces 223 hp with up to 221 lb-ft of torque.*
[*specifications shown for concept vehicles]
Developed entirely in-house by the BMW Group, the 1.5-liter,3-cylinder engine represents the state-of-the-art conventional engine design. The i8 Concept accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in under 5 seconds and gets 87 mpg, making it as efficient as it is dynamic.
At the base of the LifeDrive module lies the Drive Module, acting as the sustainable foundation for the i8 Concept vehicle. The Drive Module combines the battery and drive system, plus a range of structural safety devices into a lightweight, high-strength compartment. Its small turning radius and direct steering response result in outstanding dexterity, as well as exceptional handling.
Part of reinventing the sports car is rethinking its entire architecture — something designed to deliver impeccable performance and optimum dynamics. For BMW i, this led to the creation of the LifeDrive concept, consisting of two separate, independent modules: the Drive Module and the Life Module.
The Drive Module includes the electric motor, lithium-ion battery, fuel tank, combustion engine and aluminum chassis, while the Life Module is comprised of the carbon fiber passenger compartment.
As a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the i8 Concept needs fewer battery cells than the i3 Concept. The battery's central location in the Drive Module gives the vehicle a low center of gravity, further enhancing its dynamics. The end result is an optimum 50:50 weight distribution, guaranteeing superior handling and performance.
Innovative design is as much about materials as it is about looks. By using carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP), a material that's as strong as steel but around 50% lighter, BMW i truly created an efficient, high-performance innovative sports car.
Not only can CFRP be shaped elegantly, its unique strength combined with its light weight makes a world of difference in durability and fuel economy.
CFRP is currently being manufactured in the ultra-modern carbon fiber production plant in Moses Lake, Washington. The plant is completely powered by renewable, hydroelectric power — helping BMW i stay true to its focus on sustainability.
It's born electric inside and electrifying outside.The BMW i8 Concept's sweeping silhouette gives the appearance that it's surging forward even before the wheel turns. Large, transparent greenhouse-like windows create an extraordinary feeling of lightness, while the doors swing upward like wings to provide an undeniably emotional and sporty allure. And as a 2+2 vehicle with seating for up to four, it's not just dynamic, it's practical.
i8 Concept 360 1:30Image Gallery
The BMW i8 Concept is no ordinary sports car. One look tells you that. This plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is a true icon of progress: a remarkably efficient sports car boasting up to 87 mpg and a 0 to 60 acceleration time of under 5 seconds.
The BMW i8 will be available in 2014.
In Motion 0:40Born Electric 1:31
You can almost feel the future blowing through your hair. The i8 Concept Spyder is a high-performance plug-in hybrid that redefines what a convertible should be.
The vehicle is powered by an agile BMW electric motor, innovative battery technology and an intelligent engine management system that switches to a turbocharged internal combustion engine, depending on driving conditions.
Its lightweight design, low center of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution help it reach up to 354 hp and launch from 0 to 62 mph in approximately 5 seconds.* In addition, it boasts an impressive 78 mpg based on its European test cycle.*
[*Specifications shown for Concept Vehicles]
No wonder it took the crown as the 2012 Concept Vehicle of the Year at the11th annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards.
i8 Concept Spyder 1:31Image Gallery
Take a look into the lives of our BMW Electronautsas they journey toward a more sustainable futurein the all-electric BMW ActiveE.
BMW i offers many 360° ELECTRIC products and servicesto ensure convenient electromobility in nearly every situation.
If you have a garage, driveway or private parking space, then you are an ideal candidate for BMW i's home charging solution. This elegantly designed BMW wall unit provides a safe and convenient way to wake up to a full tank in the form of a fully charged battery.
The i3 Concept battery can be fully charged in approximately 3 hours with a level 2 wallbox at 32 amps. The i8 Concept battery can be charged in approximately 3.5 hours with standard 120 volts at 12 amps.
BMW i vehicles have the technology to help drivers locate the nearest public charging stations. Drivers will be able to use an app to determine the nearest charging station and if it is currently in use. There will also be an option to make a reservation at certain locations to charge at a specific time.
As additional charging stations become more available, EV drivers will be able to park and charge their vehicles in public parking lots or parking garages, allowing drivers to get the most out of their car and make the best use of their time.
Those who lead the way into the future of mobility will have access to a variety of products and services that make managing and driving an EV a seamless experience.
Monitoring tools will allow EV drivers to use their smartphones to check their vehicle's battery level, charging status and even the remaining time left until the battery is full. Topographical mapping technology will be available to evaluate elevation levels to help determine the best ECO route to arrive at your destination while getting maximum range out of your BMW i vehicle.
In the event that you are in need of assistance or run out of charge, the BMW Assist™ is designed to ensure that a response specialist is on call with just the touch of a button in the vehicle.
In an effort to extend your range of mobility even further, BMW i is looking to provide solutions for both domestic and international travelers.
Imagine being able to select a BMW i, BMW, or MINI vehicle of your choice from a DriveNow car sharing fleet whenever you are traveling on business or pleasure. BMW has plans to extend the convenience of electromobility during long-distance travel in select cities and the option to use a BMW vehicle on a weekend trip.
With partners in mobility solutions like MyCityWay, ParkNow and DriveNow, you'll enjoy all the benefits an electric driver should expect. ForBMW i, driving electric isn't just about mobility, it's about a way of life.
You can make a world of difference just by making the switch to an all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. Explore the financial and environmental benefits you could soon be enjoying.
Annual Savingsaka Cash In Your Pocket$0
Things You Can Buy With Your Savings
cups of coffee
CO2 Emissions Prevented 0 lbs.
Carbon Footprint Saved
Barrels Of Fuel Not Used
Trips To The Gas Pump Avoided0
Average Fuel Price To Ignore$0
Battery Used Per Day
The Near-Future You EV Calculator should only be used to roughly project the financial and environmental impacts of switching to an electric vehicle. The numbers will vary from driver to driver, as well as from vehicle to vehicle.
To project various levels of CO2 emissions, we worked with the assumption that a gas vehicle consumes 22 mpg, diesel vehicle 30 mpg of fuel, and a hybrid vehicle 60 mpg. This also assumes an average fuel tank size of 18 gallons.
The Estimated Fuel Savings number is determined based on your estimated consumption of gas, minus the estimated cost to charge your electric vehicle. In addition, we assumed that an average driver can drive a maximum of ten hours a day with an average of 50 miles per hour for our savings calculations.
"Things You Can Buy With Your Savings"
Items to purchase with savings are determined by dividing your savings by the price of the item. All item prices are the approximate average. For example, the average price of a medium cup of plain coffee is $2 and the average cost of an mp3 on iTunes is $1.29.
"Battery Used Per Day"
((Annual Mileage/365)/100) = percentage
We are dividing your daily mileage with the average BMW ActiveE range on one full charge (100 miles). This will give you the average battery percent you will use each day if you switch to a BMW ActiveE.
"Barrels of Fuel Not Used"
Average gallons in fuel barrel = 36 gallons
Annual mileage/(Average MPG of your specific car type x Average amount of gallons in a barrel of fuel).
"Trips to the Gas Pump Avoided"
Average tank size = 16 gallons
Annual mileage/(Average MPG of your specific car type x Average amount of gallons per tank).
National averages are taken from Bureau of Transportation Statistics; http://www.bts.gov/publications/omnistats/volume_03_issue_04/html/figure_02.html
All data related to CO2 emissions is calculated using the equation CO2 (lbs) per mile = 5.33 lbs/22(for gas car, 30 for diesel, 60 for hybrid)
 Based on http://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milesper_gallon_gasoline_equivalent?
 Based on http://epa.gov/oms/climate/420f05001.htm?
At BMW i, sustainability is at the very core of our value system. When a vehicle is born electric, it's designed to be beneficial to the environment. This includes the value chain of parts and manufacturing.
When it comes to lightweight vehicle materials, carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is the optimum—and highly unprecedented—choice. It is extremely strong and lightweight, being at least as strong as steel, but around 50% lighter.
The Life Module of BMW i vehicles is constructed exclusively from CFRP, providing a far longer life span in
comparison to conventional steel structures. The key to this super-high-strength material lies within the carbon fibers, which are exceedingly tear-resistant along their length. These fibers are woven into lattice structures and embedded in a plastic matrix to create the carbon fiber/plastic composite material, CFRP.
CFRP fibers are being manufactured in Moses Lake, Washington. This plant is completely powered by renewable, hydroelectric power—helping to stay true to BMW i's focus on sustainability.
Germany's BMW Landshut Plant opened in March 2012 and has been using the carbon fibers to produce the ultra-lightweight carbon parts that compose one-third of the body components for BMW i models. This plant sets an ecological standard with its significant reduction in primary energy use, having a consumption of 25% below legal regulations.
Leipzig, Germany is home to the very first production plant for BMW's electromobility mission powered by four on-site wind turbines. In March 2011, the plant began its expansion and transformation into a center for EVs–where CFRP components, plastic parts and the bodies of the i3 and i8 will be manufactured.
With its use of renewable resources and naturally treated raw materials, the interiors of both the BMW i3 Concept and i8 Concept are characterized by innovative, sustainable design.
Premium materials like European Eucalyptus wood used in the dashboard are made entirely of timber grown in Europe and are certified as 100% sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council®.
The leather used is tanned using a natural process derived from olive leaves. The extract from the leaves helps provide extra protection against fading and wear, while still giving the leather a unique look and impressive feel. This cowhide from southern Germany is completely environmentally friendly and highly durable.
Overall, 25% of the weight of the interior plastic is accounted for by recycled or renewable resources. Compared to the BMW production average, the upcoming i3 is expected to consume 70% less water per vehicle.
The success of the BMW i3 Concept proves that true sustainability is achievable and demonstrates BMW i's dedication to changing the future of mobility. In fact, the BMW Group has been named the Dow Jones Sustainability Index leader for eight years in a row as the world's most sustainable premium automobile manufacturer.
Over its entire product life cycle, the i3 Concept is estimated to reduce its carbon footprint by over one-third in comparison to a combustion engine vehicle in the same class.
Even more impressive, if the vehicle is powered by purely renewable electricity, this same statistic increases to well over 50%. Innovations in the development, manufacturing and recycling stages are helping BMW i set new standards of sustainability throughout the entire process of vehicle production.
With these efforts, emission-free mobility will soon be a reality.
Follow BMW i as it travels around the globe, showing the world what it means to truly be born electric. Find out more about our mobility services, all-new sustainable materials, the latest technological developments, lifestyle trends and what premium mobility of tomorrow is all about.
June 22, 2012
The Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome marked the starting point for the worldwide tour of BMW i – the sub-brand of BMW which encompasses sustainable mobility. The full program is available at www.bmw-i.it.
Rome. The BMW Group inaugurated the BMW i Born Electric Tour at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni located at Via Nazionale 194 in Rome. The worldwide tour will go on to visit six other major cities over the next 12 months: Dusseldorf, Tokyo, New York, London, Paris, and Shanghai.
BMW i was introduced by the BMW Group last year and is now in the process of preparing for the launch of vehicles under the brand in coming years. The models will be characterized by extremely low environmental impact and designed for the express purpose of reconciling the demands for individual mobility and sustainability.
Two prototypes are being presented at the event: the BMW i3 Concept and the BMW i8 Concept. With its zero-emissions all-electric engine and a range of about 150 km, the BMW i3 Concept was designed expressly for city use. True to BMW, it also offers a dynamic driving experience.
“We are very proud,” stated Franz Jung, President and Managing Director of BMW Italia S.p.A., “that this world tour is starting out from Italy and from the city of Rome. This major urban city is predestined for innovative solutions and we wanted to confirm our commitment to sustainable mobility. Furthermore, we believe that the automobile represents an asset for society in terms of contributing to the creation of value, and at the same time, represents an irreplaceable means of individual mobility.”
The presentation in Rome is designed to demonstrate the BMW Group’s holistic approach to future mobility, not only in terms of products displayed, but also in terms of networking information, technologies, and transportation systems. The initiative also benefits from collaboration with the Italian architect and designer, Fabio Novembre. Through collaboration with the Officina Design and Driade, he will create his interpretation of the city and be the first of seven major world-class artists engaged to offer their visions of the urban context.
To underline the integrated approach of the event, other local designers and businesses working in the field of sustainable luxury goods, were selected to develop products representing “Next Premium”. For example the high-fashion eyeglass frames W-eye™, the Etcetera-Design furniture brand, jewelry designer Alice Visin, and the Italian Catellani & Smith brand of lamps.
The event in Rome is scheduled to cover four days from the 20th to 24th June. Yesterday, a series of workshops open to public provided a platform to exchange views with international experts including Jessica Scorpio (Getaround), Benoit Jacob (BMW i), Oriana Persico (AOS), Andrea Granelli (kanso.it), Federico Ferrazza (WIRED), Carlo Ratti (MIT), Francesco Lipari (OFL Architecture), Fabio Novembre and Joseph Grima (DOMUS). On 22 and 23 June, the exhibit will be open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The detailed program of meetings can be found at www.bmw-i.it.
With BMW i, the BMW Group is consolidating its position as the most innovative and sustainable automobile manufacturer in the world and is responding to the challenges of the future in terms of eco-sustainable mobility. Together with its premium electric vehicles, BMW also offers a range of services for mobility. These are services aimed at optimizing the use of parking spaces, the utilization of navigation systems that can access local information, intermodal road maps, and car-sharing schemes such as DriveNow.
BMW i recently acquired an interest in MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse web portals. ParkatmyHouse makes it possible for private persons to rent their personal parking space when it is not in use, via the internet or a specific smartphone application.
April 23, 2012
Munich/Beijing. The BMW i8 Concept Spyder is celebrating its world premiere at the Auto China 2012 in Beijing (23 April – 2 May 2012) and the rear-end of the car clearly bears the eDrive emblem for the new technology. In future, the designation eDrive will identify the drive technology for all electric and plug-in hybrid cars from BMW i.
BMW eDrive comprises the components of the electric drivetrain: the electric motor developed in-house by BMW, the lithium-ion battery, and finally the intelligent motor management system. This technology ensures that electromobility with BMW eDrive offers a unique experience. This is because the full torque of the electric motor is available from a standing start and the acceleration unfolds continuously in thoroughbred electric vehicles until the top speed is attained. Vehicles with BMW eDrive technology are therefore extremely agile and offer enormous driving pleasure. The lithium-ion battery cells and the intelligent motor management system also offer a substantial increase in range and power for the vehicle.
The future will see BMW eDrive technology empowering all electric drives – electric and plug-in vehicles from BMW i – giving them the capability for being particularly dynamic and smart.
August 21, 2012
Munich/San Francisco. The BMW Group has extended its premium car sharing program DriveNow to the US. DriveNow launched in San Francisco in June with 70 electric vehicles. The innovative mobile parking solution, ParkNow, will debut in the Californian city in September.
Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for BMW Sales and Marketing: “The BMW Group not only manufactures premium automobiles, but also develops a range of services to meet the growing need for flexible mobility solutions in urban areas. The launch of DriveNow and ParkNow in San Francisco and other cities is part of our commitment to the development of new mobility offerings, which will reduce the level of pollutant emissions and traffic congestion and improve quality of life for residents.”
Seventy fully-electric, zero-emission BMW ActiveE cars are located at eight DriveNow stations across the entire city of San Francisco, with two more locations coming soon in the surrounding area. Customers register online or in person and can then use the DriveNow website or a mobile app to locate and reserve an available vehicle. The vehicle can be returned to the pick-up location or any other DriveNow station – so one-way trips are also possible, when needed. Through a partnership with the Californian company Coulomb Technologies and use of its ChargePoint network, drivers can easily locate the nearest charging point, in case they need to charge the vehicle during their unlimited rental. Parking and charging at DriveNow stations are free. Coulomb Technologies is the supplier behind the online network, ChargePoint. This, the world’s largest charging network, consists of in-dependently-owned electric-vehicle charging stations.
The DriveNow premium car sharing program is a modern mobility concept that combines top-quality vehicles and service with simple, flexible usage. DriveNow is the first car sharing concept to focus consistently on highly-efficient premium vehicles and comprehensive service. DriveNow was launched in Germany in June 2011 as a car sharing joint venture between the BMW Group and the car rental company Sixt AG. DriveNow now has around 45,000 members and is available in Munich, Berlin and Dusseldorf and, from the autumn, also in Cologne. In the US, DriveNow is a wholly owned subsidiary of the BMW Group.
The electronic mobile parking service ParkNow allows users to reserve a parking space in advance, at a guaranteed, clearly defined rate in accordance with the driver’s personal preferences. Customers can either use the ParkNow iPhone app to find a parking space, or re-serve one, pay for it and get directions directly to it through the ParkNow website. This reduces both the time involved in finding a parking space and the environmental impact from pollutant emissions. 14 ParkNow stations are currently set up in and around San Francisco. ParkNow is a joint venture between BMW i Ventures and Urban Mobility.
The BMW Group offers DriveNow and ParkNow under its BMW i sub-brand. BMW i also delivers innovative mobility services that reinforce the BMW parent brand’s position as a sustainable, future-oriented brand. The BMW i brand comprises, in particular, the two revolutionary new vehicles, the BMW i3 and BMW i8, which will come onto the market in 2013 and 2014 respectively. These two models will be the first series-produced vehicles specially built with electric engine and electric hybrid drive train.
The venture capital company BMW i Ventures was founded in 2011 under the BMW i sub-brand, to provide financial support for companies developing mobility solutions for problems in densely populated cities worldwide. The company aims to enhance individual mobility and is specialized in the areas of mobile connectivity and location-based services. BMW i Ventures is primarily focused on providing top-class mobility services. This also involves solutions that are not designed exclusively for the automobile.
BMW i spells visionary vehicles and a new take on premium mobility that has sustainability very much at heart. Pivotal to the new BMW sub-brand are alternative drive systems that are specifically conceived for use in the city and dictate the design process from start to finish. BMW i sets out to rethink mobility and come up with pioneering solutions to the challenges posed by cars of the future. These are the driving forces behind the groundbreaking LifeDrive concept – a unique, purpose-built vehicle architecture geared to electric mobility and boasting highly innovative use of materials.
The BMW i designers have succeeded in developing a unique design language which also displays strong links with parent brand BMW. Innovative technologies are given a contemporary, authentic visual style, and the initial concept cars – the BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept – open up values such as lightness and efficiency to the naked eye. These cars herald the dawn of the new sub-brand and instantly highlight the potential of BMW i. With the BMW i8 Concept Spyder the BMW Group is presenting a third model - a further development of the BMW i8 Concept in the guise of an open-top two-seater.
Running in the family: design features from parent brand BMW.
BMW i references its parent brand BMW clearly through the use of design themes such as absolute precision, lightness and clean modernity. Picking up on hallmark BMW design features allows BMW i design to maintain a clear connection to its parent brand. However, BMW i also takes a whole new look at various stylistic elements, giving the sub-brand’s vehicles a distinctive identity. To this end, a three-dimensional blue ring has been added to the outside of the BMW badge for the BMW i logo. A fresh interpretation of the classic BMW kidney grille reflects the inspiration provided by its parent brand for the BMW i face. With their horizontally sectioned headlights, the BMW i cars share the intent look familiar from BMW models but add a flavor all of their own.
The BMW i “next premium” claim.
“Clean”, “clever” and “premium” are three key words in BMW i design. BMW i cars take the idea of premium to the next level to meet the demands of the future: “next premium” defines comfort, functionality and aesthetics beyond the usual perceptions of higher standards. Never before have sustainability and premium been combined in this depth. Preserving resources was a key consideration in the development of materials, for example. The design of the interior puts renewable and naturally treated raw materials on open display for the first time. The new LifeDrive architecture gave the designers the freedom to introduce a clean-sheet design for the interior. Only genuinely premium, clean and clever features were included. The result is a contemporary, pared-down aesthetic which reduces weight without the need to compromise on functionality. The design of the exterior uses a stimulating design language to communicate this new approach. Transparency and the use of contrasting colors bring the cars’ lightweight design to the attention of the observer. The extremely clean, minimalist surfaces have been conceived to lend visual impact to the sub-brand’s all-embracing sustainability concept.
Typically BMW i: model-specific design features.
The purpose-built basic construction of the BMW i models – the LifeDrive architecture – represents their single most defining feature. Within this concept, the carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) Life module houses the passenger compartment, while the Drive module brings together all the operational driving functions.
This distinctive two-way split is also reflected in the design of the cars. The modules are partly covered by plastic side panels, but remain clearly distinguishable. Expressive surfaces and precise lines form a harmonious transition between the two. This overlap and interlocking of surfaces and lines – “layering” in BMW i speak – marks out the exterior and interior design of the vehicles. This striking interplay highlights the linking together of the individual structures and their arrangement within the framework of the LifeDrive architecture.
The aerodynamically optimized “stream flow” represents one of the most striking design themes of BMW i. Two horizontal lines converge from above and below – like streaks of air in the wind tunnel – into a dynamic C-pillar sweep. These lines are expressed in different ways depending on the model. Among the other aerodynamically significant features which double up as hallmark elements of BMW i design are large and relatively narrow wheels, as well as aerodynamic elements such as AirCurtains (which channel the air flow around the wheel arches) and the aeroflaps behind the front wheels.
Lightweight design and efficiency.
BMW i design uses lightness and efficiency to give the sub-brand’s innovative drive technology a fitting showcase. These central values are expressed in the design of the vehicles through large transparent surfaces and a light-bathed interior, a powerful stance and aerodynamic additions such as contact surfaces, spoiler lips and elements allowing air through-flow. This high degree of transparency imbues the cars with an airy feel, while the generously-sized glass surfaces give an optimum view outside.
The impressive swathes of exposed CFRP reflect the lightness and efficiency of both vehicles. As a central element of efficient mobility, aerodynamics play a key role in reducing fuel consumption. The design of the BMW i vehicles uses numerous aerodynamic measures to reduce the cars’ drag substantially, increasing their efficiency – and therefore their range when running on electric power alone.
BMW i introduces a fresh interpretation of the familiar BMW rear light design. The intricately worked
U-shaped rear lights use state-of-the-art LED technology and are designed for maximum efficiency, in terms of both their space requirement and energy usage. Their distinctive looks also ensure the BMW i vehicles are clearly identifiable during the hours of darkness.
Another distinctive design feature is best viewed from above; a black band rises out of the bonnet just behind the kidney grille and continues over the roof to the rear, creating a visual link between the different sections of the car.
“We take our responsibility very seriously when it comes to the mobility of the future and the future of our society,” says Benoit Jacob, Head of BMW i Design, with reference to the BMW i sub-brand. “We are in no doubt of the need to take a fresh view of things going forward. That’s why, at BMW i, we’ve been asking ourselves a host of questions which challenge many of the things we currently take for granted. Every design element in the creative process was subjected to three fundamental questions: Does it meet our definition of premium? How clean is it? How clever is it? And those questions provoked some revolutionary responses. Suffice to say, rarely has the future promised so much.”
The future is coming to New York City. Be one of the first to see the BMW i Concept vehicles and explore a new vision for electric mobility.
The BMW i. BORN ELECTRIC TOUR. in New York City is open to the publicfree of charge.
Join us to see why the future is closer than you think.
We know you have Questions About the Future, so we listed a number of them and provided more answers about what it means to be born electric.
When will the i3 and i8 be available?
The i3 will be available in late 2013 with the i8 set to launch in 2014.
What is the range of the i3 and i8?
The i3 Concept has a range of 80–100 miles of pure electric driving. An optional range extender is expected to double the electric range. The i8 Concept has a pure electric range of approximately 20 miles and can achieve an estimated 87 mpg using hybrid power.
How long does the i3 take to charge?
The i3 Concept battery can be fully charged in approximately 3 hours with a level 2 wallbox at 32 amps. With an optional DC Combo Fast Charger, the i3 Concept is capable of reaching an 80% charge in less than an hour.
Will i3 and i8 production be environmentally friendly?
BMW i is dedicated to setting new standards of sustainability throughout the entire process of vehicle production. For example, the carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) used in the Life Module is manufactured in state-of-the-art production plants in both Germany and in Washington state that are entirely environmentally friendly, one of which is powered by on-site wind turbines. Also, the interiors of these vehicles use renewable resources and natural materials to further BMW i's dedication of lessening its carbon footprint. Please see the Sustainability section in EV Life for more information.
How much will the BMW i3 and i8 cost?
Pricing information is not yet available. Please check back here for updates.
What's the difference between a Hybrid, EV and PHEV?
Hybrid vehicles use two or more separate power sources to move the vehicle. Usually hybrids combine an electric motor and an internal combustion engine. Electric vehicles (EVs) are purely electric, running on an electric motor and requiring "plugging in" to charge. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) are hybrid vehicles that use rechargeable batteries that can be charged by plugging into an electric power source or through regenerative braking. They also function like a hybrid with the combination of an electric motor and combustion engine.
How can you charge the i3 and i8?
A wide variety of charging options exist, including home and public options. The i3 Concept battery can be fully charged in approximately 3 hours with a level 2 wallbox at 32 amps. The i8 Concept battery can be charged in approximately 3.5 hours with standard 120 volts at 12 amps. See the EV Life section for more information.
Are EVs really more environmentally friendly?
EV's like the i3 Concept rely on electricity as fuel in order to run therefore their tailpipes are emission-free and do not release any CO2 into the environment. Please see the Sustainability section in EV Life for more environmental information as well as the Near-Future You section to see the impact you can have from driving an EV.
Introducing MyCityWay. With lightning-fast, environmentally friendly vehicles, staying ahead is a given. But with BMW i's MyCityWay, navigating your way through the city will be faster, easier and more convenient than ever. Find quicker routes to everywhere, escape traffic and discover better places to go.
Just type in what you're looking for and drive. It's just another way to improve mobility, beyond what keeps you mobile. And all it takes is two simple steps, below:
Introducing ParkAtMyHouse. This innovative online marketplace is designed to connect available parking spaces with people looking to find a spot for their vehicles. Established in London in 2006, this service is now being rolled out in the U.S. in cooperation with BMW i as part of their exclusive mobility services.
This app connects home and business owners that are interested in earning money by renting their space out to drivers in need of a convenient and cost-effective place to park. Within the network, there are over 150,000 registered drivers, with parking provided in over 20,000 unique locations. Relieve the stress of finding a parking space and learn more about ParkAtMyHouse below. Your spot is waiting.
Introducing DriveNow, the very latest innovation in car sharing brought to you by BMW i, MINI and Sixt AG. With DriveNow you can get a car whenever you need it and simply pay per use.
DriveNow is currently available in San Francisco, with a fleet of 100% electric BMW ActiveE vehicles, making renting not only premium and convenient, but also environmentally sensible. With multiple locations in San Francisco, including SFO and Palo Alto, it’s easier than ever to get behind the wheel of a BMW. For example, you could pick up at the airport and drop off at Fisherman’s Wharf.
This modern mobility service is also available in Munich, Berlin, and Düsseldorf with plans for further international expansion.
Interested in renting a DriveNow BMW ActiveE? You can complete an online membership registration, then find and reserve a car easily via our website or mobile app.
Stay tuned for more mobility apps from BMW i. These services will introduce drive-share programs and other conveniences for parking and charging, making your electric lifestyle even more seamless.