Family members: The i3 Concept Coupe joins two other vehicles in BMW's i sub-brand. The i8 plug-in hybrid (right) will reach production in 2014, and the five-door all-electric i3 EV will come out in 2013. (Source: BMW)
So what I want to know is, can you eject the "life module" in the event of an accident and be rescued by a passing space ship? Puh-leez!
But that aside, the i8 is sweet. The i3s look to be a bit of a Nissan Leaf "me-too!" sorta thing, only probably double the price. Having owned a number of BMWs in the past, and having to buy lots of replacement parts, the BMW pricing model seems to be assessing an item's fair market value and then added a zero to it.
One question for BMW is how they plan on selling gasoline, diesel, electric, AND fuel cell vehicles in high enough quantity to make profits on them all. Electric will die off fairly quickly once fuel cells hit, this unveil is probably nothing more than PR. Their fuel cell cars go on sale in 2 years so where does electric cars fit in their long term vision?
What I would like to know is whatever happened to motor-in-wheel. That strikes me as the most efficient and cost effective system (no gearing losses, no drive train hardware). And an itelligent version of it could be linked to the steering to do a better job of allocating torque than a differential ever could.
Did the cost of the motors kill that? Why don't you ever hear about it anymore?
It's good to see that BMW is taking seriously the importance of reduced mass since schlepping a traditional all-steel vehicle wastes precious energy. Light weight fibrous composites therefore make sense. Thjis is not a new idea. The original electrics, like the Baker in the early 20th Century, also used a light strong fibrous composite for the same purpose. They called the stuff wood. (Just for the record, I am not proposing wood for structural elements today, although it should not be ruled out a priori.)
Certainly some of the "dumbing down" of concept cars is a matter of acceptance concerns.
There are also practical concerns. Can the exotic shapes be manufactured involume at an acceptable price? Can the designers desired shape contain actual humans of various sizes in a position they will accept? Will the drivetrain and other equipment all fit in the real car?
100 mile range? Range in an EV is still the most expensive item (opinion). WIth any car if you advertise the price "fully-loaded" a lot of folks will not even look at it. If you advertise the "starting at (try to find one on the lot)" price many who wouldn't look other wise will drive away with a 95% loaded model.
If you can't get them to look you can't get them to buy.
Cabe, you are right about the "brand tax". Even the least expensive 1-series car starts at $31,200. That is not a lot of car for so much, but that is their approach to pricing. When they came out I thought that it would be a good thing. I saw a 1-series convertible and it was nice. For sheer driving pleasure I like smaller cars. At that price, though, it does not seem that many are buying them.
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