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)
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?
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?
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.
I think the main disadvantage of motor-in-wheel is the radical increase in unsprung weight. Perhaps it's affect on ride quality has kept it out of (most) electric vech. Active suspension systems could be required to make it work for production cars. Catapillar will continue to use it in their machines, at least until dirt goes digital! ;^)
Did BMW actually build one of these, or is it just an idea? There seems to be a lot of claims of what it "will" do, and very little actual details. Anyone can say that they will have an electric that goes 100 miles/(1 hr charge), but can they realistically deliver this by 2013?
Arden Dulou: Maybe you don't understand the concept of fuel cells. A fuel cell is like a battery, only it doesn't store energy, it creates it (electricty) on-the-fly by harvesting the electrons from a chemical reaction. You would use the same exact Electric Vehicle, but instead of a giant battery, you would replace it with a small fuel cell and a container to house the fuel (H2?).
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