The BMW i3, the world’s first premium-segment car designed from the ground up to be powered by an electric drive system, is on show at LCV2013, Millbrook, ahead of its first appearance to the wider public at next week’s 65th International Motor Show in Frankfurt.
Among the first of the 2,000 event visitors to enjoy a closer look at the revolutionary BMW i3 was Transport Minister Norman Baker. He announced that the BMW i3 is eligible for the UK Government’s Plug-in Car Grant, helping to make the first zero-emission vehicle in the premium car segment an affordable, as well as a technologically and environmentally attractive, proposition for customers.
The Transport Minister said: “I am delighted that BMW’s new i3 has just qualified for the Coalition Government’s Plug-in Car Grant. We have now had over 5,000 claims made for our Plug-in Car and Van Grants, which is excellent progress.
“There are great strides being made by the auto sector in developing and building plug-in vehicles and this is supported by a Government that is fully behind this effort over the long-term.
“There is no need to wait for the future, these technologies are with us today. New cars like the i3 will really help to bring that home to consumers.”
Suzanne Gray, General Manager for BMW i in the UK, welcomed the confirmation of Government support: “The UK is a key market for the success of our BMW i3. Working together with Government, city authorities and other key partners, we are confident that our exciting new approach to sustainable urban mobility will provide customers with an attractive offer for electromobility. It addresses the environmental challenges facing a growing number of countries and megacities in Europe and around the world.”
In the BMW i3, the use of lightweight CFRP for the passenger cell compensates for the extra weight of the battery. The low, central location of the battery pack enhances the car’s agility thanks to perfectly balanced 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity.
|0-62mph Seconds||Top Speed Mph||Range (miles)||CO2
|BMW i3 Range Extender||£28,830**||170||250||7.9||93||160-186||13|
**With £5,000 OLEV Government grant.
The electric motor generates an output of 170hp, with peak torque of 250Nm on demand instantly. This allows the BMW i3 to sprint from zero to 37mph in a mere 3.7 seconds and zero to 62mph in just 7.2 seconds, while the lithium-ion battery gives a range of 80 –100 miles in everyday driving. This rises by approximately 15 per cent in ECO PRO mode and by the same again in ECO PRO+ mode.
Since 2009, BMW has conducted research on a global scale with the MINI E and BMW Active E programmes. A UK government report has established that the average commute is 13.1 miles each way, and the average daily mileage 25 miles.
For customers particularly conscious of ‘range anxiety’, the BMW i3 is also available with a range extender engine, powering a generator to maintain the charge of the lithium-ion battery at a constant level while on the move. This is performed by a 650cc two-cylinder four-stroke petrol engine developing 34hp and mounted immediately next to the electric motor above the rear axle. The range extender increases the car’s maximum range in day-to-day driving to around 180 miles on one tank of fuel. The BMW i3 Range Extender costs £28,830** OTR.
Both BMW i3 models include a three-year, unlimited mileage vehicle warranty and an eight-year, 100,000 mile battery warranty. The battery is also included in the price of the car, negating a separate lease charge for the battery.
The price for the BMW i3 starts at £25,680** and £28,830** for the Range Extender. However, leasing is expected to be favoured by customers and the monthly rates are highly competitive. Starting at £369p/m for a 36-month contract and rising to £480p/m for an i3 Range Extender in Suite, the BMW i3 is a compelling package.
The BMW i3 is eligible for a number of government-backed grants and tax breaks due to its zero emissions powertrain. In addition to the ‘Plug-in’ grant that reduces the OTR cost of the vehicle by £5,000, both versions of the BMW i3 also benefit from a zero road fund licence charge and are exempt from the London Congestion Charge. For corporate customers, businesses benefit from 100 per cent capital write down allowance and very low levels of National Insurance taxation, whilst drivers will pay significantly less (in the case of the standard i3, zero per cent) Benefit in Kind taxation. For these customers in particular, the benefits over three years compared with contemporary internal combustion engine vehicles run into thousands of pounds.
The BMW i3 comes as standard in the UK with AC Fast Charging which sees a 7.4kW charge power up the BMW i3 from zero to 80 per cent within three hours. This can be performed by the optional BMW i Wallbox. The exclusive Wallbox has been created to give customers a comprehensive and premium sustainable mobility experience.
This equipment must be installed by a qualified electrician so a home survey, delivery, fitting and maintenance package for the BMW i Wallbox is available through Schneider Electric, while the installation service is managed by BMW and customised to customers’ specific requirements. Additional “renewable” power options will be offered via selected BMW i partners, for emission-free home charging. A seven-day timer allows the car to be charged at night when renewable energy makes up a higher proportion of the energy supply and demand is at its lowest. AC Fast Charging is also the most widespread public charging option in the UK.
Occasional charging can also be performed using a pre-supplied cable, fitting a standard household socket at 2.4kW, when 32 Amp AC Fast Charging is not available. Charging this way takes eight to 10 hours. DC Rapid Charging is the third and final option available to owners and allows a BMW i3 to get an 80 per cent charge in just 30 minutes to one hour. It uses a 50kW connection to do this and is suited to public charging locations where available.
As part of a £37 million infrastructure package of investment in electric vehicles in the UK, the government offers a 75 per cent grant across the United Kingdom for the provision of domestic charging points that includes the BMW i Wallbox, bringing the installed cost down to £315**. The BMW i3 is engineered to meet standard industry specifications for charging compatibility.
For public charging BMW will offer its customers access to BMW ChargeNow, a unique service giving BMW customers in the UK cashless access to the largest nationwide network of public charging stations with a single card – the BMW i ChargeNow card. Charging stations in the ChargeNow network are displayed, along with their live availability, on the BMW ConnectedDrive services page in the navigation unit. Payment is a £20 annual fee, with pay-as-you-go access, allowing customers complete control of their charging account. Customers will also receive an itemised monthly statement and have the ability to access their account information online at any time.
In the UK, 47 BMW dealerships have been appointed i3 agents, although the entire network can handle servicing of the i3. Service Inclusive is available on the BMW i3 for just £375, covering servicing costs for five years or 60,000 miles.
The BMW i3 launches in the UK on 16 November, 2013.