BMW prepped for electrification with orders for i3; car will …

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BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW Auto

BMW prepped for electrification with orders for i3; car will use Kymco-built range extender

By Phillippe Crowe

On Tuesday this week, BMW AG held its Annual Accounts Press Conference in Munich, giving an idea of where the company is heading and how things are going. Also this week, a report said BMW s i3 range-extender will be built by Kymco of Taiwan.

As for its green strategy, the BMW Group said it has been tirelessly pursuing its “Strategy Number ONE” with great success since 2007, enabling it to achieve the intended impact of becoming significantly more profitable and competitive.

The group also said this allows it to be extremely well placed to meet future challenges.

“We have now successfully implemented the first third of our strategy. All interim targets have been fully attained,” emphasized Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

Strategy Number ONE has also seen the birth of a host of vehicle concepts – including the BMW i3 – as well as advances in terms of reducing fuel consumption thanks to EfficientDynamics technology.

Reithofer said BMW has now accepted several hundred advance orders for the i3, and electromobility will be very much in the spotlight for the BMW Group in 2013.

“The future belongs to those who dare to venture”, remarked Reithofer. The first pre-series BMW i3 came off the production line in January 2013. This vehicle, which has been specifically designed to run with zero emissions for use in an urban environment, will come onto the market by the end of the year.

“Several hundred advance orders have already been received for the BMW i3”, added Reithofer.

The BMW i3 is designed with a carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger compartment, an aluminum chassis, and BMW said it sets new standards in the field of lightweight construction.

The BMW i3 has an approximate range of 150 kilometers (93.2 miles), which – based on experience gleaned from the MINI E and BMW Active E test fleets – is sufficient in most circumstances.

Customers can also opt to increase this capability with a so-called Range Extender.

Production times are reduced significantly by employing unique production methods and a significantly lower number of assembly parts.

The BMW i3 will require only half the time needed to produce a conventional vehicle.

To have any chance of addressing the growing ecological challenges in the world’s metropolitan areas, there is no getting around the use of zero-emission drive technology. “In the medium term, megacities have no choice but to encourage the use of alternative drive systems”, underlined Reithofer.

Electric vehicles in Beijing, for instance, are already exempt from the allocation procedure for number plates and from fees.


The range extending two-cylinder motorcycle-based engine planned for BMW’s pending i3 will be built by Kymco in Taiwan.

BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW Auto

Kymco is an existing BMW motorcycle division supplier with main operations in Taiwan, three factories in China and one in Indonesia. In 2008 it was chosen to assemble BMW’s G450X Enduro motorcycle engines and now it will apparently supply its electrified new car.

BMW motorcycle engine photo courtesy

Prices for the range extender and its specifications were not given by the publication which reported the story Tuesday after speaking with BMW sales and marketing head, Ian Robertson.

What is divulged is a small fuel tank will be used. On electric power alone, the i3 may have around 75-93 miles (120-150 km) on EV power and this could be stretched to 217 miles (350 km) with the small petrol range extender.

As previously reported, the thinking is this is a “range extender” in a stricter sense than found in the Chevy Volt, which in fact has dual power sources, and can run indefinitely on gasoline generator power alone, without ever needing to plug into electricity.

BMW’s range extender is more akin to a true backup, like a spare gas can, or even, if you’ll pardon the analogy, training wheels. Tests with prototype Minis and 1-Series have shown the range extender is only there to build confidence in budding EV drivers learning new habits.

Once they get a feel for their actual range, and learn not to run the batteries out, they do not need the gas backup so much, and learn to plug in as needed. Reports have that it existing EV test drivers are so in the groove already, they do not even plug in every night between daily commutes meaning their EVs have sufficient range for the limited duties they are called to do.

Robertson echoed previous BMW statements that early i3 sales will see more range-extended versions chosen, but this will taper off as the car becomes familiar in the marketplace. Fewer people will want the range extender in time, it is believed.

Kymco started life as a part of Honda, but went on in 1963 to become an independent motorcycle part supplier to Honda, and in 1970 it began designing and building its own range of scooters.

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 21st, 2013 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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