Wednesday, April 10, 2013

BMW Slowly Undressing the i3


The most recent spy shots of the BMW i3 show more of the car than ever before, continuing the trend BMW has set of slowly exposing more and more of the car as we approach its official unveiling at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

A production-looking nose is spotted
When the very first spy shots were captured two years ago, the car looked very boxy and was completely covered in the blue and white swirly camouflage. It was also clear that BMW had even added fake panels under the "camo" to further obfuscate the real look. As time progressed the fake body panels were slowly dropped and now we are seeing what looks to be pre-production i3's during testing with parts of the body exposed as some of the camouflage has been removed. There was even one picture of what looks like the nose of a full production version i3 which was taken during a photo shoot in California recently.

BMW is still holding back on releasing much information on the car but we have learned a few things recently:

1) BMW will offer gas loaners for customers who need to drive further than their i3 will conveniently take them. The full details haven't been released like how many times per year you are offered the loaner or if there is any fee, time or mileage restriction. Can you take the loaner for a two week vacation on a 1,000 mile trip? Answers to these important questions are still unknown.

2) The optional range extender will not operate like Chevy Volt, allowing the driver to continue driving for hundreds of miles after the battery is exhausted without any noticeable difference. The details are still very unclear, but BMW had said the i3 will have reduced performance when in range extender mode. While BMW is quick to say the car will not be in any kind of "limp home" mode while utilizing the REx, it is not meant to extend your range on a daily basis. In fact Herbert Diess BMW’s global R&D chief was quoted saying “The range extender is not intended for daily use. It’s for situations when the driver needs to extend the range of the vehicle to reach the next charging station,” said Diess. “Therefore, the i3 probably won’t be the choice for customers with a need for an extended range.”

3) The i3 will first go on sale in Europe (November 16th has been rumored to be the launch date) and come to the US in late December. The first batch of i3's that do make it to the US will have the range extender option, as BMW expects the majority of the initial sales to have the option included. Although some i3's will arrive in late December, the speculation is that the official US launch will occur in early January when the car becomes widely available








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