BMW unveils preview of 2 prototypes of Born Electric

The BMW Group unveiled a sneak preview of two prototypes of 'BMW-i Born Electric' -– the next generation BMW i3 Concept and the BMW i8 Concept Roadster -- here as part of a world tour organised by the company.

With its zero-emissions all-electric engine and a range of 80-100 miles, the BMW i3 Concept is designed mainly for city use.

The company's global tour has only New York as the stop for the US. The worldwide tour includes Rome, Düsseldorf, Tokyo, London, Paris and Shanghai.

The BMW i-3 and i-8 will become the first purpose-built electric and hybrid-electric production vehicles to be made primarily from carbon fibre when they become available for customers in 2013 and 2014, respectively, said Peter Miles, executive vice president (operations) BMW Group North America, yesterday.

BMW-i was introduced by the BMW Group last year and is now in the process of preparing for the launch of vehicles under the brand in the next few years.

With BMW-i, the BMW Group is consolidating its position as the most innovative and sustainable automobile manufacturer in the world and is responding to the challenges of the future in terms of eco-sustainable mobility.

The brand itself is a part of an imitative dubbed 'Project-I' that BMW launched decades ago and brought together a group of top thinkers within the company to explore the future of mobility, Miles said.

"As street parking continues to be one of the biggest challenges in our congested cities and because the time spent searching for parking is a major reason for increased emissions and wasted fuel, we feel that our involvement with these innovations is a key component of BMW-I strategy," Miles said.

Together with its premium electric vehicles, BMW also offers a range of services for mobility.

These are services aimed at optimising the use of parking spaces, the utilisation of navigation systems that can access local information, intermodal road maps, and car-sharing schemes such as DriveNow.

Among the most eye-catching features of the BMW i8 Concept Roadster are the upward-swiveling, windowless doors and a range of purpose-oriented on-board equipment, including electric kickboards stowed under a transparent tailgate.

The sports car is based around the innovative 'LifeDrive' architecture, itself underpinned by a lightweight modular construction and the use of high-quality high-tech materials, said Henrik Wenders, Head of BMW i-8 Project Management in BMW Munich facility.

The BMW i8 Concept Roadster is a plug-in hybrid powered by an eDrive drivetrain combining a high-performance electric motor and petrol combustion engine.

The lithium-ion battery supplying the motor with power can be recharged in an extremely short space of time from any domestic power socket, the company said.

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