When BMW announced the price of its long-awaited revolutionary e-car last summer, its competitors were shocked. The starting price for this state-of-the art lightweight battery-driven car was a mere EUR 34,950. In the highly priced e-car segment, this figure put the competition under pressure. And not only has BMW completely rethought the powertrain concept, the body and the materials, it has also taken a whole new approach to design, production and sales. The last such shake-up in the automotive industry, which tends to stick to what it knows, came in 1998 with the launch of the Smart. BMW has not spared any expense either, investing an estimated EUR 3 billion in this high-risk strategy for the future.
It certainly looks like BMW got a lot right, as the i3 combines the advantages of an e-car with the driving dynamics and premium quality for which the Munich-based firm is famous. Unlike e-cars manufactured by companies such as Smart, Volkswagen, Volvo and Ford, the i3 was designed as an e-car right from the start – and not as a petrol model with a built-in electric powertrain. This has resulted in an ideal use of space and distribution of weight in the vehicle.
This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 03/2014.
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