Friday, April 29, 2011

The Latest BMW i3 Illustration Appears

BMW Blog posted a new i3 rendering. today. It may not seem like big news, but BMW is doing their best to keep details and photos of the i3 under wraps so even drawings become news on the i3. 
It seems that ever since the spy shots were captured, the illustrations are able to really capture the cars general lines. I'm still a little concerned about the apparent bump in the short stubby nose, but this illustration makes it look OK. I trust the BMW designers will make the i3 look good. However the spy shots with all the camouflage don't leave an image of a great looking vehicle. I know that BMW probably has deliberately modified the body a bit under the swirly white & blue body cover so you really can't believe everything you see until the car is officially revealed. Rumor has it that BMW will show a pre production version of the i3 for the first time at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

Monday, April 11, 2011

BMW Hires Frank Weber, Former Lead Engineer for the Chevy Volt

In a move that further solidifies BMW's commitment to electric cars, they have just hires Frank Weber, former head engineer for the Chevy Volt. Frank will report to Klaus Draeger, BMW's head of R&D

This move is a little surprising because in the past, BMW has rarely hired top people from other auto makers, electing instead to train and promote from within. In my opinion, this is an example of how important BMW feels it is to accelerate their electric car line and not fall behind in the race to bring a wide range of electric cars and plug in hybrids to their showrooms.

What I find particularly interesting is that there have been a lot of rumors around that BMW will be offering a range extender for the i3 shortly after the original BEV version is released in 2013. I'm hearing a lot of talk about a three cylinder, turbo charged engine as being the suspected powerplant for such a set up. This would make the i3 very similar to the Volt so in that regard Mr. Weber's experience can make an immediate impact on the development of the i3.