The Ultimate Electric Driving Machine

by Danny Shapiro

It has four wheels, a steering wheel, and cup holders. But just about everything else in BMW’s first mass-produced electric vehicle (EV) is revolutionary. The BMW i3 is more than just an electric car – it’s an engineering feat that looks like it rolled right out of a science fiction movie.

The science-fictioney features include a passenger cell made from carbon-fiber for a roomy interior, BMW eDrive technology for zero-emission driving and the power to go 0-60 miles-per-hour in roughly 7 seconds and driving assistance systems that provide collision alerts to keep you safe.

There are plenty of advanced electronics on board, including Park Distance control with two rear mounted sensors, a BMW iRemote app to connect cars with cell phones, Park Assist for full automatic parallel parking, and – a great feature for driving in slow moving traffic – active cruise control outfitted with unassisted stop and go.


One of the car’s most dramatic features: a clean, uncluttered dashboard that replaces switches and knobs with a sleek digital display. The i3’s center display renders special electric car functionality such as a dynamic range map of BMW’s ConnectedDrive system, turn-by-turn directions and entertainment options.

Crack open the opposing “coach” doors and you’ll see seating for four, and rear seats that fold completely flat. Weighing just 2,364 pounds, including the 495 pound traction battery, the BMW i3 offers a range of approximately 80 to 100 miles in everyday driving or up to about 180 miles if buyers select a two-cylinder range extender combustion engine. The rechargeable electric motor develops output of 125 kW/170 hp using power supplied by a lithium-ion battery pack mounted in a low, central position in the car’s underbody.

Six exterior color choices and four interior style options will let drivers personalize their e-ride.


Why not try it out yourself? BMW is offering test drives of the i3 on a 300-meter figure-eight track in their booth at the IAA 65th International Motor Show in Frankfurt Sept 12 – 22. BMW aims to clock as many as 6000 miles during the duration of the show. Go ahead – give one a spin around the track. If you can’t make it to Germany for the show, you’ll be able to test drive one next year when the i3 goes on sale in the US.

And soon you’ll be able to learn about the relationship between NVIDIA and the BMW i3.