BMW i3 electric’s oddball option gas engine

2 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи BMW i3 electric’s oddball option gas engine отключены
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto

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LOS ANGELES — BMW finally is set to put its futuristic i3 battery car into U.S. showrooms, offering a truly peculiar option for an electric car — a gas engine.

The company showed off the car today at the Los Angeles Auto Show; on Tuesday it hosted a drive for journalists, who took the i3s from Marina Del Rey on the shore to the downtown L.A. site of the show.

Base price is $42,275 including $925 destination and excluding any tax credits. For $3,850 more you can have a 650 cc, two-cylinder BMW motorcycle engine installed as a so-called range extender.

It fires up and runs a generator when the battery pack gets low. Not new. That’s how the Chevrolet Volt works.

But offering it as a stand-alone option is unique. Volt and other extended-range electrics have the auxiliary gasoline power built in, period. It’s part of the basic design.

BMW says the gas engine never drives the wheels, it only runs a generator to keep the battery pack from completely discharging.

BMW thinks most people will buy the i3 as a pure electric when it goes on sale next April on the east side of the U.S. and May in the West. That setup, BMW says, should have a range of 80 to 100 miles.

But for those with serious range anxiety the range-extender option roughly doubles how far you can go before the car needs fuel of some kind. A 2.4-gallon gasoline tank feeds the motorcycle engine, and a fresh charge — three hours using a 240-volt circuit to fill a completely drained battery pack — tops off the batteries.

The i3 comes in three trim levels — or worlds in i-lingo: Base is Mega. Mid-level is Giga. High-end models, like all those in the test fleet here, are called Tera.

Tera interior uses leather on seats, active wool and kenaf on door panels. BMWs describes kenaf as a cotton-based, hemp-like material. In the test cars, it had the look of old, worn felt or packing material.

Active wool is blend of virgin wool and recycled plastic drink bottles. Eucalyptus wood is used for some dashboard surfaces.

BMW says the i3 weighs a little more than 2,700 pounds, making it the lightest car the company has sold in the U.S. since the 1991 3-series.

BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto

The trim weight gives the car strong acceleration — standstill to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds — from the electric motor’s modest 170 horsepower, 184 pounds-feet of torque.

The exterior is thermoplastic. similar to General Motors discontinued Saturn cars. The panels will deform if they hit something, then spring back into shape — at low speed, anyway.

Underneath is a carbon-fiber reinforced plastic skeleton. That’s mainly why the car weighs as little as it does. Carbon fiber — used in everything from race cars to fishing rods — is strong without being heavy.

Rear doors on the four-door, four-passenger car are hinged at the rear, so open toward the back in a so-called …-door pattern.

When the front and rear doors both are open, there’s no middle pillar so it’s easier to maneuver into and out of the car. But rear riders need front passengers to open their doors before the back doors can be unlatched.

Keeps the kids in place until you’re ready to help them out. But could be annoying to older passengers impatient to get out and get on with things.

Three driving modes are supplied. Comfort is the normal setting. EcoPro changes the throttle and other settings and should boost range 12%, says Jose Guerrero, in charge of BMW i-series products.

EcoPro-plus cuts back throttle response even more, tries to keep accessories turned off to save the battery and should boost range another 12%, he says.


BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto
BMW i3 � Electric Car 127kW with Range Extender Auto

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