There have been many dazzling electric car concepts over the years, few of which have come to light: which is why it’s so exciting to see the BMW i3 and BMW i8 Roadster up close in personal as they head towards production.
The i3 and i8 are set to become the first purpose-built electric and hybrid electric vehicles to be made primarily from carbon fibre when they reach the market in 2013 and 2014 respectively: and now they have been showcased as part of the Born Electric World Tour.
So what can we expect from these two awesome concepts?
The BMW i3 (pictured left) features an eDrive system with an electric motor capable of developing 125kW and boasting peak torque of 250Nm. It can accelerate to 37mph in less than four seconds and to 62mph in less than eight seconds and it can reach a top speed of 93mph.
Among its key technological features is intelligent power electronics that ensures the electric power is used both efficiently and economically. If a driver eases on the accelerator then the electric motor will act as a generator and convert kinetic energy into electricity which is then passed back to the battery. Drivers will also benefit from ECO PRO driving mode, which will allow them to boost the driving range of the vehicle. With ECO PRO+ mode this is taken even further, as the main electrical consumers, including air conditioning and heating systems, will operate at minimum power levels.
As for the BMW i8 roadster (pictured below), it is a plug-in hybrid concept with a shorter wheelbase and overall length than the coupe variant that has already been revealed. However, much like the coupe it is built on the LifeDrive architecture that includes the extensive use of carbon fibre reinforced plastic to offer an extremely lightweight passenger cell.
It boasts a 96kW electric motor that works alongside a three-cylinder petrol engine and together they can generate peak torque of 550Nm. The BMW i8 Concept Roadster can travel from 0-62mph in five seconds and reaches a top speed of 155mph while achieving fuel economy figures of 78.4mpg.
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