Richard Kim, the lead exterior designer for the BMW i3 and i8, discusses the technologies and freedom that helped his team develop these innovative new cars.
Last week, BMW of North America offered an exclusive preview of the two vehicles at an event in New York CIty. In front of journalists and selected guests, the company talked about the BMW i sub-brand and future plans for electric vehicles.
BMW i3 goes on sale, as a mainstream vehicle, in 2013, followed by the more exclusive i8 a year later. While not officially confirmed, we have hear that in the United States, the BMW i8 will be priced around $160,000.
The i3, previously known as Megacity Vehicle, is based around a light CFRP body structure and rides on a predominantly aluminum chassis. The i3 produces 168 horsepower and 184lb ft of torque, and it has a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h). It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.9 s. BMW i3 measures 3845mm in length, 2011mm in width and 1537mm in height. The plug-in system is a compact electric motor mounted over the rear axle. It draws energy from the battery to provide drive to the rear wheels via a single-speed transmission.
At 349 horsepower and nearly 80 mpg fuel consumption, the BMW i8 will set a benchmark in the performance segment. BMW says the i8 runs a 0-62mph in just 4.6 sec – 0.3 sec faster than the M3 Coupe. Initially previewed by the Vision EfficientDynamics (Vision ED) concept back in 2009, the super-sporty two-door i8 has already undergone two years of intensive development. The major change is a new 1.5 liter petrol engine replacing the initial diesel unit of same capacity. The engine is mounted at the rear and drives via a dual-clutch gearbox.
BMW i8 measures 4632mm in length, 1955mm in width and 1280mm in height, comparable to the 3 Series coupe in dimensions.
Here is Richard Kim talking about the design of the innovative vehicles.[Video: Drivestv.com ]