Did you know that the electricity for BMW i3 production comes from renewable sources? Yes, wind turbines installed on the site power BMW’s Leipzig plant, while local hydropower runs their US plant.
The BMW i3 is not only electric but also environment-friendly in the truest sense of the word. Its interior is made from sustainable materials, and more importantly, this small hatchback has brought some revolutionary design solutions. It’s fair to say that it's one of the pioneers of the segment.
The First Generation of BMW i3 (2013-present)
The Bavarian carmaker is probably the first traditional automotive company that has formed a sub-brand, especially for all-electric cars. The new sub-brand called "i" was started way back in 2011, presenting the i3 concept the same year. The prototype premiered at the 2012 London Olympic Games a year later, while the serial production finally started in 2013. The Australian version debuted with the 2014 model year.
Global BMW i3 sales went over 200,000 units by 2020.
The BMW i3 is the first fully-electric car produced by the Bavarian carmaker. It is designed as a small hatchback, but what's more interesting is the overall design approach. With this model, BMW wanted to show the world that environment-friendly vehicles don’t mean battery-electric drivetrain only.
The incredible thing about this model is that it's mostly made from natural, sustainable materials.
Thanks to the absence of an internal combustion engine, it was possible to make the chassis from lighter materials, such as hemp. This was beneficial not just in terms of sustainability but also in weight reduction. As a result, the standard version weighs just 1,135 kg.
This is a small city hatchback with a total length of just 3,999 millimetres. The wheelbase is good for a respectable 2,570 mm, providing a pretty decent amount of interior space. The reason for the spacious interior is the fact that there is no engine at the front. The cabin was moved forward to allow easier access to the rear seats, where the i3 features rear-hinged suicide doors.
Another exciting thing about the BMW i3 interior is that it's made from (mostly) natural materials. Parts like the dashboard and door panels are made from renewable natural fibres, naturally tanned leather, and open-pore eucalyptus wood, while 25% of the cabin is made from recycled plastics.
BMW i3 Dimensions
- Wheelbase: 2570mm
- Height: 1578mm
- Length: 3999mm
- Width: 1775mm
- Ground clearance: 140mm
- Weight: 1195kg
- Turning circle: 9.9m
Drivetrain and Performances
The BMW i3 comes in different variants based on battery capacity, but in all cases, it features the same electric motor mounted on the rear axle. It features a max output of 125kW and 250Nm of max torque.
The electric motor is coupled with a 1-speed automatic transmission. Despite the relatively modest max power, this lightweight vehicle ensures quite respectable acceleration. Models with the standard 18.2-kWh battery accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in about 7 seconds, while the top speed is limited to 150 km/h.
The initial model came as the BMW i3 60Ah, with an 18.2-kWh battery pack. By today’s standards, this is a small package, so the max range of 130 kilometres isn’t something that will impress you.
In 2017, BMW introduced a bigger battery, and that model came as the BMW i3 94Ah, featuring a 27.2-kWh battery pack. The max range was increased to 183 km, while the electric motor kept the same output. Due to the heavier battery, the acceleration is slightly slower.
Finally, the BMW i3 120Ah was introduced with the 2019 model year. This version features a 37.2-kW battery pack, which provides a max range of nearly 250 km. Besides better content, another effect of the bigger battery was the increase in BMW i3 price.
BMW i3 Specs
- Drivetrain: Single Rear-Mounted Electric Motor; 1-Speed Automatic Transmission
- Max Power: 125 kW
- Max Torque: 250 Nm
- Aceleration (0-100 km/h): 7.2s (60Ah), 7.3s (94Ah), 7.5s (120Ah)
- Battery Capacity: 18.2 kWh (60Ah), 27.2 kWh (94Ah), 37.2 kWh (120Ah)
- Max Range: 130 km (60Ah), 183 km (94Ah), 246 km (120Ah)
The BMW i3 offers a variety of charging options, starting from the standard socket. Also, you can use the BMW i Wallbox Pure (or any other third-party charger). In that case, the standard 60Ah model can be charged in just 3 hours. This small hatchback also supports 50-kW public chargers, and with them, you can charge 80% of the battery in about 30 minutes. Of course, we are talking about the most basic 18.2-kWh battery pack, and models with bigger batteries need more time to recharge.
These days, almost every fuel station has chargers for electric cars. However, that wasn’t a common thing back in the days when this small electric hatchback was launched. Also, the autonomy was modest, as it was just mentioned. So, the Bavarian carmaker decided to offer an optional range extender.
This version features a small 650cc petrol engine borrowed directly from the C650 GT maxi-scooter, with a max output of 25 kW and 55 Nm. As you may presume, that's not enough power to move the vehicle confidently. Instead, the petrol engine acts as a generator, which supplies the battery with electricity, providing an additional range.
The Australian model comes with a 9-litre fuel tank, which can provide an additional 116 kilometres for the base 60Ah model. So, the total range goes up to 241km. The 94Ah model with a range extender features a total range of 290 kilometres, while the BMW i3 120Ah with a range extender can make up to 322km in total.
In 2017, a sportier version called BMW i3s was introduced. This model came with several upgrades, starting from a slightly more powerful electric motor, which puts out 135 kW and 270 Nm of the max torque. Besides more power, this version also features upgraded sports suspension with lower ground clearance, wider wheels and tires, and a new drive mode called Sport. This version is also available with the range extender.
1. How long do BMW i3 batteries last?
The Bavarian carmaker offers an 8-year or 160,000km warranty on the battery in the i3 model. Moreover, this is one of the rare companies that provide a clear battery capacity loss warranty. According to the manufacturer, the battery should keep at least 70% of the capacity by the end of the warranty period.
2. Is BMW discontinuing i3?
The company's first all-electric car has officially ended production, and successors like i4 and iX models now carry the torch. However, a certain number of examples are still available, and if you want to get one, you should act quickly. The BMW i3 price in Australia starts at around $71,000.
If you want to replace your used BMW i3 with a more modern i4 or iX model, you can advertise it for sale on our website. That’s the best way to get more interested buyers.
By Nebojsa Grmusa