BMW electric cars for NZ
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.
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.