Monday, July 15, 2013

Is This BMW's New Electric Car?

On July 29, BMW (NASDAQOTH: BAMXF ) is unveiling its new i3 electric car. Further, BMW's i8 Spyder electric sportscar, is set to launch in 2014. With these moves, BMW will catapult into the electric-car ring. While many of the specifics are being kept under wraps, the details that are known are impressive. More importantly, for other electric-car manufactures, BMW's move could spell trouble. Here's why.
Technology meets German engineering
According to BMW, the i3 has a pure-electric range of 80 to 100 miles and has an optional range extender that lengthens that initial range by 80 miles. Additionally, thanks to BMW's eDrive technology, a driver can extend the initial range up to 124 miles by putting the vehicle in one of the "EcoPro" modes. The battery that "fuels" the i3 is a lithium-ion battery that powers not only the drive system but every vehicle function as well. Plus, the battery can reach 80% replenishment in 30 minutes with the fast-charging option. Further, where possible, BMW used sustainable resources -- such as a dashboard made from wood 100% sourced from responsible forestry, and cowhide sourced from southern Germany, and tanned using 100% natural extract from olive leaves.
More excitingly, Top Gear's drivers test-drove the BMW i3, and where in the past they've been critical of electric cars such as Nissan's Leaf, for the i3 they gave a glowing report and said:
At first sampling, then, this is a compelling electric car. It's not the first on the market, but BMW has put some original thinking into almost every part of its design and engineering. It drives sweetly, is distinctively designed, and has the reassuring range-extender option if you are anxious about running flat.
Beauty meets technology
BMW designed the i8 Spyder to be a "green performance" sports coupe, and to be the "ultimate driving machine." Powered by a li-ion battery, the i8 can go approximately 20 miles on pure electricity before switching to the range extender hybrid powertrain, similar toGeneral Motors' (NYSE: GM ) Chevy Volt. Speaking of the engine and the battery, each is positioned over its respective axis, which adds to the i8's impressive 50/50 weight distribution. Further, with 406 pounds of torque, the i8 can go from 0 to 62 mph in less than five seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. And with its two drive systems, the i8 can be driven in an "all wheel drive" mode, giving the i8 optimum performance in inclement weather.
Although BMW hasn't revealed the exact details of what the car will look like, reports indicate that the i8 concept car is not far off of the final design. If that's true, the i8 was designed to be absolutely breathtaking.