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BMW i3 Gets Extended Range By Motorcycle Engine

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BMW i3 Coupe Concept Side

The i3 Coupe concept is an urban electric vehicle being developed by BMW and is expected to launch in its production version later this year. The BMW i3 concept car was introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. BMW will be offering the i3 coupe featuring a two-cylinder motorcycle engine with a generator to extend the range of the electric vehicle. According to Herbert Diess, BMW’s head of R&D, the extended range package will be offered optionally on the i3 coupe when it goes on sale globally. The BMW i3 without the package has a range of around 100 kms to 150 kms on a single electric charge.

With the extended range package of two-cylinder petrol engine borrowed from a BMW motorcycle, the i3 coupe is capable of doing around 400 kms on a tank full of petrol. The BMW i3 coupe is a three-door hatchback featuring a carbon fibre body powered by an electric motor that is capable of churning out a maximum power output of 170 BHP and a peak torque of 250 Nm coupled with a single speed transmission. The engine sits in the boot connected to a generator that re-charges the battery.

The electric motor gets powered by the lithium-ion storage cells placed under the floor. The engine is not responsible to transmit the mechanical power directly to the wheels. Diess says that the range extender package is for those who will use the engine for longer trips and the plug-in hybrid version is for those who plan to use the car for daily city runabouts. BMW expects the initial orders for the range extender package to exceed 50 percent then stabilize at around 20 percent. We expect BMW to launch the i3 coupe in India next year.

BMW i3 Coupe Concept Interior

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Shashank

    this must be come here as CKD….

  • Ganesh babu

    My 2 cents ;)
    The I3 works on an amazing concept. By employing an electric motor to drive the wheels, the car takes advantage of a 90% efficient electric motor instead of relying on the 25% efficient IC engine. Electric motors also do not need a gearbox or the transmission losses associated with it. Since all the torque is available right from the start up, there may not be that much of a loss as in the IC engine during start and stop variable driving cycle. The IC engine is employed only for the fixed RPM battery recharging operation. I estimate an efficiency increase of about 44% in a fixed speed running IC engine. Here is crude way I go about to measure this efficiency increase. My 69 KVA, 4 cylinder generator averages about 8 hours for every 30 liters of diesel. For the same 8 hours of driving at an average speed of 60 KMPH, we would have traveled 480 KM. At an average 10 KM/L we will therefore require 48 liters of diesel for the same engine working on a variable drive platform. So in essence this car is employing the good of both the worlds. This concept is sure to keep the motoring industry busy for the next 30 years. But what will still be important is the battery life, its replacement cost and the used battery disposal proposal.

    Happy motoring!

  • GB

    Faisal, 250 additional KM from a tankful of gas fueling the range extender IC engine. How big is this tank please? thx.

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      GB, BMW is yet to reveal tank capacity details but should be at least 30-litres.

  • GB

    I thought as much too, Faisal.

    So are we looking at 30 liter for 250 KM? Isn’t that very low?!

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      GB, can’t say much now, could be smaller but gasoline engines don’t give much mileage.

  • GB

    Being a 2 cylinder motorcycle engine and that too running on fixed RPM, I was hoping for a miracle ;)

    But I’m beginning to get a strange feeling that there ain’t going to be one :(

    • http://www.motorbeam.com/ Faisal Khan

      GB, nope, gasoline engines can’t break mileage records.

  • GB

    Faisal, The gasoline engine is not directly connected to the wheels in this case. It merely plays the role of an IC engine in a generator.

    So pl explain, ” can’t break mileage records.” that u r referring to.

    thx.

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