Benoit Jacob, head of BMW i Design, describes the first BMW i electric vehicle, the i3.

The car’s electric drive-train generates output of 125 kW/170 hp and peak torque of 250 Newton meters, which is immediately available from a standing start. The BMW i3 sprints from 0 to 60 km/h in 3.7 seconds and from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 150 km/h for efficiency reasons.

The key elements of the BMW i3 are the LifeDrive architecture and BMW eDrive technology. The use of lightweight CFRP for the passenger cell cancels out the extra weight contributed by the lithium-ion battery, while the low, central positioning of the battery pack enhances the car’s agility thanks to near perfect 50:50 weight distribution.

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Additionally, the electric motor mounted in close proximity to the driven rear axle offers unique performance characteristics for this type of drive system as well as providing unbeatable traction.

Over 8,000 customers have reserved a BMW i3 which sells in the U.S. for $41,350, before any tax reductions. The i3 will gwent on sale in Germany for 34,950 euros ($47,440) on Nov. 16, followed by the U.S., China and Japan in the first half of next year. The U.S. market will receive the BMW i3 in early 2014. The BMW i3 with range extender option starts at $45,200.