BMW elec­tric cars for NZ

Motor Equipment News - - NEWS -

BMW has taken quite a few rad­i­cal steps with its i elec­tric cars – the i3, a com­pact city car, and the i8, a high per­for­mance sports car. And both are com­ing to New Zealand.

New Zealand cus­tomers are able to or­der their cars now for the lo­cal launch of the i3 in the fourth quar­ter of this year.

The drive­away price for the i3 is $83,500, which is for the range extender ver­sion.

“We have al­ready had paid de­posits on the first 10 i3 – sight un­seen, with­out a test drive, and be­fore pric­ing was con­firmed – so there is a very real de­mand for the new model,” said BMW NZ’s Ed Finn.

The i8 is also des­tined for NZ, hope­fully this year, but in­ter­na­tional de­mand is out­strip­ping sup­ply, so fin­gers crossed.

Pric­ing is yet to be con­firmed for the i8, but ex­pect the mid$200,000 mark.

Both cars are unique in that they are the first to use BMW LifeDrive pro­duc­tion ar­chi­tec­ture de­vel­oped es­pe­cially for elec­tric cars.

LifeDrive is made up of two mod­ules; the pas­sen­ger cell made of car­bon fi­bre re­in­forced plas­tic (CFRP), and the Drive mod­ule which in­cludes the chas­sis, driv­e­train, sus­pen­sion and the high volt­age bat­tery.

The i3 is 3,999mm long, has “coach” doors, and no B pil­lar or trans­mis­sion tun­nel, and this al­lows very easy ac­cess, and seat­ing for four.

There’s a rear hatch, and the boot holds 260 litres of lug­gage with the 50/50 split rear seat up; 1,100 litres with it folded.

Spe­cial 155/70 R19 wheels are fit­ted to re­duce drag.

There are two mod­els, one a straight plug-in hy­brid, the other with a range extender en­gine.

A full al­pha­bet soup of safety fea­tures at­taches to the stan­dard elec­tronic sta­bil­ity setup.

Driv­ing the rear wheels, the hy­brid syn­chro­nous elec­tric mo­tor gen­er­ates 125 kW and max­i­mum torque of 250 Nm from rest.

Also in­te­grated into the elec­tric mo­tor are the power elec­tron­ics, charger and gen­er­a­tor for re­cu­per­a­tion mode.

The high-volt­age lithium-ion bat­tery in the BMW i3 con­sists of eight mod­ules, each with 12 in­di­vid­ual cells, which com­bine to pro­duce a rated volt­age of 360V and gen­er­ate ap­prox­i­mately 22kWh of en­ergy.

The bat­ter­ies will recharge in 25 min­utes at a DC pub­lic fast charge unit, three hours on an AC pub­lic fast charge unit, six hours in a BMW in­stalled “Wall­box”, and 11 hours on a do­mes­tic socket.

The i3 is also avail­able with a range extender en­gine, which drives a gen­er­a­tor to main­tain the charge of the lithium-ion bat­tery as soon as it dips be­low a cer­tain value. The en­gine used is a 650cc two-cylin­der petrol en­gine de­vel­op­ing 25kW. There’s a sin­gle-speed, fixed ra­tio trans­mis­sion.

The CFRP process is no longer com­pa­ra­ble with con­ven­tional sheet steel man­u­fac­tur­ing. This in­dus­tri­alised man­u­fac­ture of CFRP is ex­tremely eco­nom­i­cal, and makes the pro­duc­tion of large CFRP com­pos­ite com­po­nents for the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try a fea­si­ble propo­si­tion for the first time.

Additional pro­cess­ing stages in­clude the fin­ish­ing work, such as pre­cise con­tour cut­ting and the in­ser­tion of re­main­ing open­ings.

The CFRP com­pos­ite com­po­nents are bonded to­gether in the new body shop in Leipzig. This is where the ba­sic struc­ture of the Life mod­ule for the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 takes shape.

The i8

Al­though the body struc­ture of the i8 is made from CFRP, the outer skin is made en­tirely of ther­mo­plas­tic.

The weight of the plas­tic parts is around half that of sheet steel parts, while plas­tic also pro­vides cor­ro­sion­free outer pro­tec­tion and re­quires less en­ergy to man­u­fac­ture, as well as be­ing re­sis­tant to mi­nor dam­age.

The i8 is a plug-in hy­brid, which means its elec­tric bat­ter­ies can be charged us­ing elec­tric­ity sock­ets, and it can run solely on its light and com­pact 96kW elec­tric mo­tor, or in con­junc­tion with its 172kW BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol en­gine.

In plug-in hy­brid con­fig­u­ra­tion the i8 com­bines a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 4.4 sec­onds with an EU test cy­cle aver­age fuel con­sump­tion of 2.1L/100km and CO2 emis­sions of 49g/km. The re­lated elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion was mea­sured at 11.9 kWh/100km. In typ­i­cal ev­ery­day com­mut­ing, with the bat­tery fully charged at the be­gin­ning, the BMW i8 can re­turn a fuel con­sump­tion be­low 5L/100km around town. If the com­mute in­cludes ex­tra-ur­ban or mo­tor­way driv­ing less than 7L/100km is achiev­able.

Even in longer-dis­tance oper­a­tion at higher speeds, driv­ers can keep their aver­age fuel con­sump­tion be­low 8L/100km. Over­all, the fuel con­sump­tion of the plug-in hy­brid model there­fore works out around 50 per­cent bet­ter than that of con­ven­tion­ally-pow­ered sports cars.

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