10 Years of BMW i: The Success Story of a Vision
The introduction of i
The BMW i brand was launched in 2011 with the motto 'Born Electric'. Before this point 'i' stood for injection in BMW's petrol and diesel engines but now 'i' stands for the future of mobility. BMW i represents a holistic approach to sustainable mobility. BMW looks at not only the end product but also the production process which now uses 70 percent less water and 100 percent green energy, renewable and recycled materials and digital services.
This is the future.
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Launched in 2014, the BMW i3 was the first production i series vehicle. The i3 is an environmentally friendly electric car for urban driving that is no heavier than a conventional car due to its use of aluminum and carbon fiber. Featuring a synchronous electric motor with a single gear drawing from a lithium-ion high-voltage battery with a capacity of 94Ah (33kWh). It has 170hp which allows 0-62mph in 7.3 yet it also has range of 186-miles.
The i3 is a showcase of sustainable materials as well with 80 percent of all surfaces visible to front passengers made of recycled or renewable materials. BMW i is also thinking in that same direction when it comes to resources, from 2021 its electric motors will use no rare earths and two-thirds less cobalt. The BMW i3 one of the best-selling premium electric cars in Europe.
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BMW i8. The First of its Kind
The BMW i8 went into production shortly after, as an electric sports car, there was no field the i8 was not ahead of its time in. Guaranteeing its status as a future classic. With a radical design the i8 had a flat front hood, air curtains in the front apron, a paneled underbody and air ducts between the taillights and the roof frame giving a drag coefficient of just 0.26. Other design highlights included gullwing doors and BMW Laser Lights.
With carbon fiber and aluminum used throughout, 50:50 perfect weight distribution and lower centre of gravity the i8 drove as well as it looked.
As BMW's first plug-in hybrid the i8 combined the best of both worlds; bring together sheer driving pleasure and efficiency. The combustion engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology provides power to the rear wheels, while the electric motor drives the front wheels, giving all wheel drive. Combined the i8 had 369hp which allowed acceleration from 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds, yet could also drive up to 30 miles on pure electric and up to 128mpg.
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The BMW iX is an exciting new car for the brand as BMW's second fully-electric production model following the i3. With dual electric motors, all wheel drive and up to 500hp, the iX accelerates from 0-62mph in less than five seconds and has a range of over 350 miles.
The iX uses a new aluminium spaceframe that supports an inner carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) structure, and a body made out of a combination of aluminium, composite plastic and CFRP.
The iX features minimal air ducting within the front bumper, flat underbody, integrated door handles and a tapered rear to reduce drag and improve efficiency. Finally the charging technology within the iX supports charging at up to 200kW this allows the battery to charge from 10% to 80% in less than 40 minutes.
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The BMW iX3 brings i technology to the desirable X3 platform. With 286hp the iX3 performs like a true BMW, acclerating from 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds whilst also having a range of up to 285 miles.
The battery has a capacity of 80kWh which supports fast charging at 150kW, this means charging time from 0-80% in just 27 minutes.
Other than the blue highlights inside and out, styling elements to reduce drag and alloy wheels, the iX3 looks and drives like any other X3, which is no bad thing.
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The Future of BMW i
The future of BMW i is even more exciting than its past with public charging stations popping up everywhere and fast charging stations being built on main roads. Electric cars make more and more sense. These are the best conditions for the success of future electric cars. BMW has just released the BMW iX, its flagship for the i family and cars such as the sporty BMW i4 are also on the way. BMW plans to launch an electric car within every segment over the next few years.
BMW i are also investigating hydrogen as an alternative fuel solution. BMW is currently developing an X5 with a hydrogen drivetrain which is due to be released in 2022.
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