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BMW’s plan: To sell you on the benefits of their electric vehicles

2014 BMW i3: It will be on sale in the first half of 2014.


The campaign is on to sell the public on the merits of the BMW i3 electric vehicle.

Expect now to be bombarded with images and information across every possible media platform – newspapers, the Internet, television, social media, perhaps skywriting, hot air balloon logos, billboard and anything else the BMW marketing brain-trust can conjure up.

BMW is calling the i3 a car that delivers sacrifice-free electric driving.

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This four-seater has a carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell. This combines light weight, stability and safety in a car that is pretty spacious. The i3 will be available with BMW ConnectedDrive mobility services specially developed for BMW i and a service called 360° Electric to help smooth the road for EV driving in the city.

"We will support our BMW i3 customers with a comprehensive package of premium services for seamless and uncomplicated sheer driving pleasure," BMW board member Ian Robertson said at the car's recent unveiling.

BMW says its i3 has a range of up to 160 km, though an option will be a so-called "range extender" – an on-board two-cylinder gas engine that will maintain the charge of the on-board lithium-ion battery.

Perhaps more interesting is the carbon-fibre passenger cell and a chassis made of aluminum. The i3 will have a curb weight of 1,195 kg, far less than the typical EV of today.

The low weight and a 170-horsepower electric drivetrain mean the i3 should be able to sprint from nothing to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds, the auto maker says. Top speed: 150 km/h.

BMW also hopes to answer critics who say an EV may not use fossil fuels directly to keep moving, but that the electricity to charge the battery pack and all the energy used in manufacturing the car offset any fuel pump benefits.

BMW counters by saying "the electricity needed for production of the BMW i3 at the Leipzig plant is generated from wind power. In addition to its CO2-free electricity supply, the plant also uses 50 per cent less energy and 70 per cent less water than the average for the already highly-efficient BMW production network."

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Of course, BMW has an answer for these critics. I mean, BMW has a fat and juicy EV plan.

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More


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