|An i3 test car going through cold weather testing in Sweden. Photo: Autocar|
|Kacher poses as BMW's Kranz looks on. Photo: Car Magazine|
1) The i3 is faster than what we thought. Until now BMW had said two things about the speed of the i3. In one instance they said the concept i3 will go 0-100km (62mph) in 7.9 seconds. Then in most recent marketing venues we were told the "Concept i3 goes 0-60mph in under 8 seconds". It's important to note they always referenced the "Concept i3" not the production car. Now for the first time journalists have quoted 0-60 times. Kable from Autocar said the i3 will do 0-60 in 7.2 seconds and Kacher said it will do it in 7.3. The i3 is clearly going to be a quick car. My MINI-E did 0-60 in about 8 seconds and it was a blast to drive. The ActiveE is no slouch either, but it takes a little over 9 seconds to hit 60mph. Cutting two seconds off the ActiveE time will certainly make for a spirited drive.
2) The i3 achieved an official 140 miles of range on the European test procedure. What does this mean? Well the 2011/2012 LEAF achieved a range of 107 miles on this same test and that translated into a 73 mile EPA rating. Translated to the i3 that would then give it an EPA rating of 95 miles per charge. I know you can't make that exact assumption, but if you simply roll the numbers and say the i3 achieved a range of 130%(140/107) that's what it converts to and it's all we have to go on at this time. I would be happy if that is the EPA range rating for the i3. I have contended all along that I would prefer a 100 mile EPA rating, but as long as it is over 90 miles per charge, then I believe it will do just fine. It will then have the highest EPA rating of any EV that doesn't have a Tesla powertrain.
|The 20" wheels on the concept coupe|
|This is the engine to be used for the REx|
5) Kacher wrote: "BMW has tooled up initially to produce 30,000 cars a year, but this can be extended to 50,000 units if the i3 takes off". I had heard rumors of production estimates being 30,000/year initially but they were never really confirmed. If Kacher got this directly from Kranz then it's really the first time an official production goal was offered by BMW. It's a lofty goal. No other EV has even come close to selling that many in any year, let alone it's first year. One advantage the i3 does have though is it will be available in markets all over the world, unlike many of the other plug in cars that are available today. However the LEAF is available in many countries also and it hasn't hit the 30,000/year mark after more than two years and it's a much more affordable car then the i3 will be. It's difficult to gauge the plug in vehicle market. Government incentives play a big role and so does the proliferation of public charging infrastructure. However the i3 is the only EV in it's price class that will offer the performance and range that it does, as well as an optional range extender and the premium driving experience that is expected of a BMW so it will be interesting to watch how the sales figures progress.
Since I wasn't lucky enough to be one of the first outside BMW to hitch a ride in an i3 I'll just reprint Kacher's conclusion. He makes his thoughts on the car very clear:
"The i3 is shaping up to be a breakthrough electric car. It delivers dynamic thrills like no electric car before it. The steering seems highly involving, the drivetrain’s punch would flatten a Leaf, and the handling and road-holding seem up there with BMW’s best. Ulrich Kranz and his team appear to have succeeded in bringing pure driving pleasure to the environmentally friendly car. We’ll know for sure when we drive the car in summer 2013"