The i3 is small, smart, futuristic and apt for our cramped cities. Its size makes it easy to park and manoeuvre around town and the feature laden interiors are spacious enough for a small hatch.
The i3 has a 22 KW, 450 lbs lithium ion battery which is mounted near the rear wheels, providing better traction during acceleration. It produces 170 BHP and 184 Nm of torque, and accelerates from 0-100 km/h in just 7 seconds. And what is astonishing is that all this power is available from zero rpm. This means endless power on demand, whenever you need it. The only drawback is the low 150 km/h top speed. You can add a 34 BHP two cylinder petrol engine, which acts as a range extender, should you run out of electricity.
BMW says the i3 has a range of 128-160 km and a charging time of three hours. However, you can upgrade to a ‘fast charger’ which lowers the charging time to 30 minutes for a full charge, and 20 minutes for an 80 percent charge.
Several weight saving technologies have been incorporated, which should trickle down into other models as well. The passenger cell is made of carbon reinforced plastic, which when compared to aluminum, is 30 percent lighter and stronger as well. The 100 percent aluminium chassis is where the battery is mounted. All these features bring the i3’s weight down to less than 1225 kg.
The i3 will go on sale in the US for $42,275 (approx. IRs.25 lakh). Steep, considering its a hatchback, but affordable when you consider it saves the environment on your behalf.