BMW i3 Concept

New BMW i3 Concept: generous feeling of space combined with a unique materials concept based around renewable raw materials.

November 13, 2012... A mixture of leather, wood, wool and other renewable raw materials shapes the face of the BMW i3 Concept interior, the extensive use of natural fibers inside the car underlining the premium blueprint of BMW i.

The eucalyptus wood used for the instruments is sourced from sustainably managed European forests. This ensures that delivery distances remain short and keeps the spotlight on sustainability through all the stages of production. The wood is treated using natural materials, giving it a high-class finish and distinctive hue.

A natural tanning agent made from olive leaves is used for the leather adorning the interior. This extract from the leaves of the olive tree provides the leather with a natural layer of protection against bleaching and wear. Production of the naturally tanned leather – which comes in the new color tone Cassia – therefore focuses on maximizing durability as well as minimizing environmental impact. The leather combines with the high-quality wool used for sections of the
instrument panel and door trim to lend the interior a pleasant ambience. The passenger cell – the Life module – opens up a generous feeling of space beyond the scope of any conventional series-produced car to date. There is no center tunnel bisecting the cabin and the interior creates an open and airy impression. The full-width seat benches in the front and rear allow passengers to swap easily from one side of the car to the other and climb out comfortably – a boon in tight parking spaces, in particular. The passengers sit in a slightly raised position, which allows good visibility in city traffic and makes it easier to get in and out of the car.

Cockpit shows off cutting-edge interface design.
One of the defining features of the cockpit is the freestanding steering column, which houses the most important controls, principally the instrument cluster, start/stop button and gearshift lever. Other units, such as the controls for the audio and climate control functions, are integrated into the instrument panel, eliminating the need for a center console. Three large displays provide the interface between the BMW i3 Concept, its passengers and the outside world. Together, the freestanding 6.5-inch instrument cluster on the steering column and the 8.8-inch central information display (CID) show all the relevant information, the latter also providing the link between the driver and various connectivity applications. A third display below the CID shows the functions of the audio system and automatic climate control. The displays all share cutting-edge and visually appealing graphics, and boast outstanding clarity.

BMW i Design: dynamic proportions wrapped up in a new color scheme.
The design of the body reveals the qualities of the BMW i3 Concept the first time you set eyes on it. Dynamic and compact proportions advertise the car’s agility and the sporting prowess of its electric drive system. The car’s dominant colors are the new shade Andesite Silver and familiar High-gloss Black, with eye-catching touches added by the BMW i Blue adorning the logo, kidney grille, door sills and rear apron. The high-gloss surfaces and the contrast of black, silver and blue combine to showcase the car’s impressive product substance.

The silhouette: a light and airy “space shuttle”.
Viewed from the side, the dynamic wedge shape, flowing silhouette and long wheelbase of the BMW i3 Concept catch the eye. From this angle, the exceptional spaciousness of the interior is already evident from the outside, while the short front and rear overhangs point to the excellent maneuverability of the BMW i3 Concept. The car’s functional qualities are also underlined by the opposing “coach” doors, which enable extremely comfortable access to the light and airy interior. Generously sized glazed surfaces create a light-footed appearance and, together with the visible carbon structures, lend visual expression to the car’s impressively low weight.

The hallmark BMW i front end.
The clearly structured front end of the BMW i3 Concept is dominated by the strikingly designed kidney grille, which has the hallmark BMW i blue background and – thanks to the car’s all-electric drive system – is totally blanked off. Below the kidney grille, a silver-colored layer lends the front apron its form. Black-painted surfaces mark out the functional areas of the front end, such as the load compartment under the bonnet and the air inlets, while pronounced Air Curtains provide the car’s advanced aerodynamics with an additional visual focus. Another conspicuous feature at the front of the car are the LED headlights with their signature BMW i U-shaped design.

The rear exudes practicality and offers enough space to accommodate the BMW i Pedelec Concept.
The practicality of the BMW i3 Concept is highlighted particularly vividly at the rear of the car. A large, wide-opening rear window offers optimum access to the rear compartment, while the upright roof pillars create additional load capacity.

The variable-usage boot can be further expanded by folding down the rear seats and can accommodate two folding BMW i Pedelec Concept electrically-powered bicycles, which make it significantly easier to move around urban areas, in particular, but also provide increased scope for mobility when you swap the city streets for country air. A broad rear diffuser and U-shaped rear lights integrated into the rear window lend visual emphasis to the car’s powerful stance.

LifeDrive architecture: innovative modular design.
To exploit the potential of electric drive as effectively as possible, the BMW i3 Concept’s architecture, chassis and body are designed to meet the specific challenges facing mobility today. By implementing key features like lightweight design, use of innovative materials and crash safety today, the BMW i LifeDrive concept has already paved the way for the electric drive
technology of tomorrow. As with a body-on-frame set-up, the LifeDrive architecture is a horizontally split construction consisting of two separate, independent modules. While the Drive module, most of whose components are made of aluminum, incorporates the drive system, battery and chassis, along with basic structural and crash functions, the Life module is a lightweight yet high-strength passenger cell made from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).

This is the first time this high-tech material has been used on such a large scale in automotive production. The concept model also scales new dimensions in weight, structural strength and crash safety. As well as their benefits for performance and agility, these qualities also increase the driving range of the BMW i3 Concept. The LifeDrive architecture is purpose-designed for an electricdrive vehicle – for example it allows the large battery packs to be integrated entirely underfloor, in the center of the vehicle, resulting in both a low center of gravity and optimal balance.

eDrive: agile, powerful drive system, emission-free at the point of use.

With four seats, wide-opening doors and around 200 liters of boot space, the electrically powered BMW i3 Concept is a practical and intelligent city car which produces zero local emissions. Its electric motor develops 125 kW/170 hp and produces its peak torque of 250 Newton meters (170 lb-ft) from standstill. The electric motor provides the lightweight BMW i3 Concept with dynamic performance and impressive agility – and not only when pulling away from traffic lights. The electric concept model sprints from 0 to 60 km/h (37 mph) in under four seconds, and to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under eight seconds. The generous torque is available across a wide rpm range, resulting in very smooth power delivery. A single-speed gearbox sends the power to the rear wheels and accelerates the BMW i3 Concept to a top speed of 150 km/h (93 mph) – without interrupting the torque.

Power electronics: intelligent and efficient.
Intelligent power electronics ensure that the electric power onboard the BMW i3 Concept is used economically and efficiently. If the driver eases up on the accelerator, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting the kinetic
energy into electricity which is then fed back into the battery. This results in a braking effect which the driver can make use of as necessary. Alternatively, the driver can select coasting mode, in which the zero torque control keeps the electric motor disconnected from the drive axle. In this mode the BMW i3 Concept coasts with virtually no power consumption, driven solely by its own kinetic energy.

With ECO PRO mode, drivers can increase the driving range of their vehicle and reduce their power consumption at the press of a button. With ECO PRO+, the BMW i3 Concept takes this a stage further and operates exclusively in range-maximizing mode. In this mode the main electrical consumers such as the air-conditioning and heating systems operate at minimum power level, and auxiliary consumers such as the heated seats and heated mirrors are shut down altogether.

High-voltage battery: reliable, durable and powerful.
Another stand-out feature of the innovative electric drive system is the high power-to-size ratio of the motor. Since this compact drive unit is mounted over the rear axle, together with the power electronics, transmission and differential, there is no reduction in interior space. The power needed to drive the motor and to operate all other vehicle functions is supplied by specially developed lithium-ion battery cells. They too are positioned underfloor, in an ideal location. The optimized design of the high-voltage battery used in the BMW i3 Concept minimizes the effect of variations in external factors on the amount of power the battery can provide. An intelligent heating/cooling system keeps the battery at its optimal operating temperature at all times, helping to increase the performance and life expectancy of the cells. The battery can be fully recharged in six hours at a standard power socket. If the BMW i Wallbox high-speed charger is used, an 80 per cent charge can be achieved in just one hour.

The BMW i concept.
BMW i stands for visionary vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design and a new approach to premium mobility that is strongly focused on sustainability. Under this new sub-brand, the BMW Group is developing purpose-designed vehicle concepts which will redefine the whole concept of personal mobility. The cornerstones are the use of innovative technologies, intelligent lightweight design and innovative materials to create vehicles with minimized weight, maximized driving range, generous interior space, effortless drivability and optimized safety. Part of the same family as the BMW i8 Concept Coupe and BMW i8 Concept Roadster hybrid models, the BMW i3 is the first all-electric vehicle from BMW i. It will go into production in 2013.

Sustainability is a defining feature of BMW i and is applied right across the value chain, from purchasing, development and production to sales and marketing. BMW i will take efficiency to new levels in the production of its vehicles: the Leipzig production plant will achieve additional 70 per cent savings on water consumption and 50 per cent savings on energy consumption per vehicle produced. Moreover, 100 per cent of the energy used will be renewable

BMW i Pedelec Concept: the perfect complement to urban mobility.

BMW i has come up with an innovative two-wheeler, which acts as the perfect complement to the BMW i3 Concept and adds a new and convenient layer to personal mobility, particularly in urban areas. The new BMW i Pedelec (Pedal Electric Cycle) Concept is a compact bicycle fitted with an electric motor that tops up the rider’s muscle power with an extra dose of torque. And that means the rider can get to other parts of town even more quickly and effortlessly – and without breaking into a sweat. The BMW i Pedelec Concept can be folded up almost in the blink of an eye and, handily, there is room for two of them in the boot of the BMW i3 Concept. Plus, their batteries can be recharged while they’re in there.

Like the BMW i3, the BMW i Pedelec Concept is a thoroughly high-tech form of personal transport. Advanced componentry – such as disc brakes at the front and rear, a three-speed gear hub integrated into the motor, a lightweight frame made (like the BMW i3 Concept) from aluminum and carbon fiber, a torque electric motor complete with electronic management system and high-performance battery, and a clever folding mechanism – make this motor-assisted bicycle an extremely practical transportation solution. As well as its impressive riding and packing characteristics, the BMW i Pedelec Concept can also be converted in a matter of seconds to offer a handy pushing mode, which allows it to be rolled and steered and therefore taken on public transport at no extra cost, saving the rider the effort of having to carry it around.

Because the electric hub motor only assists the rider’s pedaling up to 25 km/h (16 mph), the BMW i Pedelec Concept does not need to be insured or registered, no license is required to use it, and the rider does not have to wear a helmet. Depending on the nature of the route, rider’s weight and degree of motor assistance utilized, a full battery charge will give a range of 25 – 40 kilometers (16 – 25 miles). Under braking and when riding downhill, the hub motor acts as a generator and supplies the battery with energy. It takes just four hours – or 1.5 hours on a quick charge – for the empty battery to be fully recharged, either from a domestic plug socket or inside the boot of the BMW i3 Concept.

BMW i Pedelec Concept:


1,480 mm
1,080 mm
Aluminum and carbon fiber (50:50)
Hydraulic disc brakes front and rear
Three-speed gear hub
> 20 kg
Electric motor
42 V hub motor
250 W / 20 Nm (15 lb-ft)
Motor management system
Electronic, via torque
(pedal torque  -->  motor torque)
42 V lithium-manganese (LiMn) battery
5.3 – 7.2 Ah, > 300 Wh
Charging time
1.5/4.0 hrs.
25 – 40 km (16 – 25 miles) 

BMW i:
New sales structures for personal mobility give customers a whole new buying experience.

BMW i is a byword for the development of visionary vehicles boasting inspirational design and demonstrating a particularly keen sense for sustainability. However, BMW i also represents a fresh understanding of premium mobility, a form of personal mobility and flexibility geared to the demands of the future and the requirements of its clientele. New BMW i sales channels are designed to maximize the user-friendliness and premium attributes the sub-brand’s customers experience in accessing its range of products and services. To this end, it has demonstrated a particularly acute awareness of customers’ increasing expectations when it comes to flexibility within the purchasing process. This unwavering focus on what owners want opens up an all-new buying experience and helps to put clear water between BMW i and its competitors.

Sales of BMW i products and services will be handled via an innovative multichannel model in selected markets. In addition to the established “stationary” sales channel – i.e. an authorized dealer – BMW i will also bring a mobile sales team, a Customer Interaction Centre (CIC) and internet sales hub on stream. All the new platforms will be fully interlinked, enabling customers to tailor their chosen contact channel to their needs and/or switch between channels at any time during the purchasing process, should they so desire.

The internet channel represents an ever-present response to a customer’s need to be able to source information and purchase products at any time and from any location. BMW is setting out to ensure that these benefits are available for all products and services.

The Customer Interaction Centre (CIC), meanwhile, specializes in providing a more personal service, if required. This includes a full suite of information on every aspect of mobility services and sustainability, and the services of a mobile sales advisor.

A mobile sales advisor offers potential customers the option of one-to-one consultancy for a BMW i product, provided on a flexible basis and away from the BMW showroom. This allows individual requirements – covering everything from model selection, equipment specification and color to finance options – to be identified at an early stage. The mobile sales advisor arranges an initial test drive appointment at the most geographically convenient BMW i partner outlet for the customer. And the customer can also benefit from the advisor’s personal assistance during the initial introduction to the car and the test drive itself.

Whichever sales channel(s) a customer chooses, their contract is always with BMW AG and not, as is usually the case, with the dealer; this applies regardless of whether the customer has opted for one of the wide range of leasing offers or decided to purchase the BMW i outright. The new sales channels can even process all the various means of payment.

The traditional sales channel provided by independent authorized BMW dealers will continue to play an important role in vehicle sales. Expanding the system into a multi-channel model provides sales partners with additional resources when it comes to prioritizing time spent with customers.

However, not all BMW dealers will also sell BMW i models. Based on the customer target groups and vehicle characteristics, the BMW Group is initially intending to serve the regions generating greatest demand – i.e. large population centers – via selected BMW i partners. More than 10 per cent of European BMW dealers are expected to represent BMW i from the launch of the sub-brand in 2013, focusing primarily on vehicle availability and the range of services on offer to customers. And should demand increase as expected, the network can be expanded at any time to include additional BMW i sales partners.

The company’s main objective, however, is to maintain its focus on a comprehensive network of service locations which aims to maximize customer satisfaction and take into account the operating range of BMW i vehicles. For the most part, a standard service can be carried out within the existing BMW Service network. The bespoke elements of the carbon-fiber Life module and servicing of the high-voltage battery under warranty will be taken care of by experts at the selected BMW i partners.

The company’s main objective, however, is to maintain its focus on a comprehensive network of service locations which aims to maximise customer satisfaction and take into account the operating range of BMW i vehicles. For the most part, a standard service can be carried out within the existing BMW Service network. The bespoke elements of the carbon-fibre Life module and servicing of the high-voltage battery under warranty will be taken care of by experts at the selected BMW i partners.

BMW i:
360° Electric – the complete product and service package for electric mobility.

With its innovative vehicle concepts, accompanying mobility services and allround high standards of sustainability, BMW i is following an integrated approach to mobility, aimed at meeting customers’ needs and perfectly matching all individual requirements. Customers who in future choose a BMW i can count on getting a complete product and service package designed to cater fully to the needs of the future BMW i driver. The specially compiled, all-inclusive 360° ELECTRIC package will combine the advantages of electric mobility with high levels of everyday reliability, convenience and flexibility.

Taking the basic requirements for an electric vehicle as reliability, ease of use, and effortless everyday driveability, particular attention was devoted to aspects such as driving range, battery life, maintenance, charging options and breakdown management – those aspects which are foremost in the minds of EV drivers. With 360° ELECTRIC, BMW i will offer a complete product and service package which BMW i3 drivers can rely on at all times, wherever they go. This package will be adaptable to a complete range of individual, user-specific mobility preferences, using innovative concepts and solutions.

The 360° ELECTRIC product and service package is based on four main pillars: home charging, public charging, guaranteed mobility and, fourthly, integration with other innovative mobility concepts in order to overcome range restrictions. Services available to BMW i customers will include supply and installation of a home charging box, supply of green electricity, access to public charging points, comprehensive maintenance services and mobility guarantees, flexible carsharing solutions and helpful BMW apps for the computer and smartphone.

The driver will encounter one of the main differences between a conventional, combustion-engined vehicle and an electric vehicle when it comes to recharging. That said, in other areas of their daily life, drivers have long been used to recharging electric devices such as a mobile phone on a regular or as-needed basis. In the same way the BMW i3, too, can be recharged at any standard household power socket. For customers with their own garage or private parking place, BMW i will additionally offer BMW i Wallboxes which offer not only safer but also convenient and faster charging. Customers will be able to choose between a basic version for safe and convenient charging and a premium version for even faster, “smart” charging (for example charging can be managed in accordance with the current grid load). Optionally, BMW i can also provide an installation service for the BMW i Wallbox, which will be fitted by a trained specialist.

And because sustainable electric mobility begins with sustainable electricity generation, BMW i can also help drivers who want to use renewable “green” electricity. To go with home charging, BMW i will also offer drivers a range of green electricity products supplied in cooperation with partners in the energy industry.

Beyond this, BMW i can offer individually tailored solutions for customers who are not able to charge their vehicle at home or in the workplace. This will be the case particularly in towns and cities where parking space is very limited. In cooperation with car park operators and operators of public charging points, BMW i will offer such customers easy access to a full-coverage network of public charging stations. Using their navigation system, or via the internet and/or a smartphone app, BMW i3 drivers will be able to find out where charging stations are located along their route and, wherever the relevant technology is already up and running, conveniently book and pay for a slot in advance. This will also mean drivers can be sure of finding a slot available whenever they need one.

With the BMW i3, drivers can enjoy driving a reliable vehicle with the additional reassurance of being able to call on assistance round the clock if they need it. A comprehensive maintenance system and mobility guarantees, and intelligent comfort and convenience features, will ensure that customers can enjoy the advantage of electric mobility without stress or fuss.

Amongst other things, they can use their smartphone to check on – or program – the battery status and charge level, or remaining vehicle range. They can also check on or program the heating and air-conditioning systems. A navigation system with special additional options will provide useful assistance with journey planning. For example, it can be programmed to select the most energy-efficient route. Drivers can also view charging stations situated along their route, so that they make the most of the BMW i3’s driving range. In this connection BMW i is also actively supporting – together with other partners – the development of an integrated public charging infrastructure which will offer EV customers further convenience features such as advance booking of charging stations and easy and transparent payment processes.

All service or repair work requirements are covered by a comprehensive service package. The work is performed by a BMW i service partner, and the BMW i customer is offered an extensive choice of replacement mobility options while the car is off the road. BMW also provides prompt service in the highly unlikely event of a breakdown, or if the battery charge runs out. BMW mobile service vehicles will either charge the BMW i3 on the spot or, if the customer prefers, transport it to the nearest charging station.

About BMW i

BMW i is about the development of visionary vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design, and a new premium perception strongly guided by sustainability. Under the banner of the young sub-brand, the BMW Group is developing purpose-built vehicle concepts which redefine the understanding of personal mobility. Key elements include groundbreaking technologies, intelligent lightweight design and the innovative use of materials, all with the aim of creating vehicles with extremely low weight, the greatest possible range, generous interior space, poised and authoritative driving characteristics, and exceptional safety.

Sustainability plays a paramount role in the BMW i concept. It is an issue that runs like a thread throughout the value chain – all the way from purchasing, through development and production to sales and marketing. And when it comes to the efficient manufacturing of its vehicles, BMW i goes a step further still.

BMW Group in America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 115 MINI passenger car dealers, and 32 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

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Please Note

To the extent that historical press releases reference BMW Manufacturing Co. LLC as the manufacturer of certain X model vehicles, the referenced vehicles are manufactured in South Carolina with a combination of U.S origin and imported parts and components.