Super lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum all-electric with the BMW roundel attached. [fimg=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/BMW_i3_News.jpg [/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Jan. 5, 2013 The BMW i3 Concept Coupe – An estimated 100 miles all-electric range. BMWs first ever consumer saleable (we think?) all-electric model from its i brand is almost ready for production with the potential to change their DNA from fast with a loud engine to fast when you hear nothing but the wind. The three-door carbon fiber body’s design language is based on what the BMW i designers call “stream flow” providing an impression of lightness, transparency and aerodynamics. Inside there are Volt like lounge-style rear seats meant to hug and relax vs. confine. Regarding the drivetrain, BMWs i3 Concept Coupe is the world’s first fully networked electric vehicle with BMW ConnectedDrive tying together navigation and information transfer between the vehicle and the driver’s smartphone geared towards the all-encompassing phrase called “e-mobility”. BMW i3 Drivetrain The BMW i3 Concept and Concept Coupe are both driven by a 170 HP and 184 lb-ft of torque electric motor developed within the confines of the BMW group itself. The rear wheels are spun through a single-speed transmission mated to the motor being supplied by Li-Ion cells located under the central floor. You know, for that BWM fore and aft perfect balance while also lowering the vehicles center of gravity providing what it said to be one of the best handling consumer oriented automobiles BMW has ever offered. In this case, limited only by tire grip. The LifeDrive concept BMW i architecture is instrumental in mating the BMW DNA of performance oriented luxury to the future of the brands drivetrain technology called eDrive. The BMW eDrive system fitted in the BMW i3 Concept Coupe is designed to allow the vehicle to cover a distance of around 100 miles on a full battery charge before it has to be plugged into a charging station again. BMW i3 Concept Coupe Chassis and Exterior The BMW i3 Concept Coupe is built around its “stream flow” design language with the latest versions front to rear window outline tapering sharply towards the rear providing superior aerodynamics. Up front the i3 Concept Coupe is BMW’esque but more cartoon like as the kidney grille is simply decorative. In addition, the headlamps are LED without the help of an LED DRL accent. The piano black painted carbon fiber hood creates eye brows with a white plastic trim creating a lower bezel around those same lenses. The front fascia was designed to create an air curtain effect directs airflow around and over the wheel arches. The rear bumper fascia’s lower section incorporates a diffuser component to optimize flow under the rear of the vehicle. The highly sculpted i3 Concept Coupe profile is defined by the gently rising yet deep 0 radius character line with a shelf like beltline under the side window glass. Short overhangs define the responsive look with an embedded air tab up front. A razor straight feature line running off the front fender through the rear highlights the lower profile. The larger rear window frame design element looks goofy in profile however. Where the efficiency "appears" to disappears is the 20 in. alloys. While pretty double-spokes that fill the wells nicely, they are probably not going to be as efficient as a lighter weight 16 or 17 in alloy with an appropriate low rolling resistance tire. These are shod with slim width 155/60 R20s at the front and 175/55 R20 on the rear. I tried to find this size tire at Tirerack and they do not yet exist. In other words, when it comes time to replace, your wallet had better be bristling with Ben Franklins. Outback, the hatch appears to be a single form with LED taillamps embedded within the structure. Very futuristic of course! The standard rear spoiler slopes off the body providing both a functional (lower aero drag) and sporty appearance. The BMW i3 Concept Coupe’s looks efficient with the opaque looking panels providing a hint of lightness similar to design concepts we have seen on the show floor for years that have and never will see the light of day. The carbon fiber based structure employed in the Life module can be clearly seen in the entrance area and the roof pillars when the door is opened. It is here, as the two-dimensional CFRP laminate typically used for load-bearing elements comes into view. The bodywork panels around the wheel arches, doors and rear sidewalls are painted in Solar Orange metallic with a contrasting high-gloss black finish on the hood, roof, rear hatch lid, and the body’s black lower edge. The BMW i3 Concepts drive system, chassis and energy storage unit, structural and crash functions members are incorporated into the high percentage aluminum chassis. Measuring 156 in. in length, 69.6 in. in width and a rather tall 61.2 in., the BMW i3 Concept Coupe has a broader and lower stance that serves to highlight its agility. The 101.2 in. wheelbase is unchanged from the standard BMW i3. BMW i3 Concept Coupe Interior The lightness and transparency theme makes its way into the interior of the BMW i3 Concept Coupe and is said to be production ready. Thin A-pillars and frameless upper doors give the appearance of openness and light weight. A mixture of soft leather surfaces, wood, wool and other renewable raw materials maintain the brands current focus on premium ye also provide a sustainable character. The freestanding steering column’s two-part design is finished in a light gray whereas the wheel’s outer grip appear to be leather wrapped in a dark charcoal. Besides the instrument cluster displayed within a thick tablet, huge control panel/stalks for the direction indicators and windscreen wipers are bordered by brushed aluminum accent strips and “hang” off the sides of the column. Above the steering column and behind the instrument cluster, is a horizontally mounted real eucalyptus wood panel that spans the full width of the interior in a dynamic sweep. Navigation is displayed on a three-dimensional, high-resolution 8.8 in screen diagonal. When the car is started, the instrument cluster screen lights up first. Text message destinations are automatically converted to destinations which appear on the central information display. Shortly before arrival at the destination, various charging stations in the vicinity are displayed and the driver is offered the option of booking one of them. On arrival, the driver hooks the vehicle up to the charging station. The bottom of the dashboard terminates in a flat control panel that is angled slightly towards the driver and is used to operate the climate control and audio functions as well as housing the favorite buttons for the iDrive system. The iDrive Controller and direct menu control buttons are located on a much lowered center console between the driver and front passenger. Without a raised center console for an arm rest and storage, it looks far less comfortable and functional. Because this is an EV that lacks a multi speed transmission, the transmission tunnel is gone leaving the area between the dashboard and seat cushions completely clear across the entire cockpit’s width. There are two individual lounge type seats in the rear of the BMW i3 Concept Coupe. The seat backrests both curve outwards to form a seamless connection with the rear paneling. The larger rear windows make passengers there feel more part of the driving experience. After tilting the front seat backrests forwards, getting in and out of the rear is facilitated by leather-trimmed grab handles that double as belt feeders for the driver and front passenger. Like most late model BMWs, the i3 Concept Coupe arrives with COMFORT, ECO PRO and ECO PRO+ driving modes. The BMW i3 Concept Coupe helps the driver optimize efficiency by choosing an appropriate vehicle set-up. The Comfort or Sport setting places the focus more on economical energy management for an increased range with the standard lighter accelerator mapping. At the same time, the heating and air conditioning are switched into a more energy-efficient operating mode. Changing from COMFORT to ECO PRO mode can extend the vehicle’s range by as much as 20 percent! Efficiency can be boosted yet further in ECO PRO+ mode, which is designed to do everything possible to maximize driving range. Maximum speed is limited to 56 mph. Comfort functions such as the heating and air conditioning are run at the minimum level required to prevent the windows from misting up. Electrical consumers like the seat heating, mirror heating and non-essential components of the daytime running lights are switched off completely. As a result, more miles can be added to the vehicle’s range. I wonder what mode we would be driving in BMWs i ConnectedDrive Thanks to the BMW i ConnectedDrive services that were developed for electric mobility applications powered by BMW eDrive technology, the driver receives realistic estimates of his vehicle’s current range, which can be viewed before setting off. The BMW i3 Concept Coupe therefore assumes the title of the world’s first fully networked electric vehicle. The BMW i3 Concept Coupe is equipped with a navigation system featuring BMW i ConnectedDrive services. Both the navigation system and the BMW i ConnectedDrive services have been tailored to the specific demands of electric mobility. Apart from the route guidance function, the system also offers drivers monitoring of the battery’s charge status, driving style, activity of electric comfort functions. The selected driving mode is also taken into account for the calculation of available range with the selected route’s topography and current traffic levels taken into account. The system is therefore able to make allowance for the extra energy used for an upcoming climb and stop/start traffic or traffic jams, and lowers its range calculation accordingly. Up-to-the-minute and detailed real-time traffic data is also added and the information is analyzed by the BMW ConnectedDrive server that stays in permanent communication with the vehicle thanks to its built-in SIM card. The mobility planning information provided is made available on the customer’s smartphone as well as in the vehicle courtesy of a smartphone app for the iOS and Android operating systems which was specially developed for BMW i. The app is a further development of the eRemote functions from BMW ConnectedDrive and offers the driver constant access to the vehicle data and relevant route planning information. Thanks to this intelligent networking, customers are able to check the vehicle’s status or plan out upcoming journeys in the BMW i3 Concept Coupe from the comfort of their home or office. If the vehicle is plugged into a public charging station or the BMW i charger, the charging procedure can be controlled both remotely and via a timer. The range display shown in the BMW i navigation system can also be viewed on the smartphone in exactly the same format as in the vehicle. The BMW i app can additionally be used to search for and select either a navigation destination or a free charging station and then import it to the vehicle’s system. Available charging stations are indicated in both the navigation unit and the BMW i app, which also show whether the stations are currently free. When the customer leaves the vehicle at the journey’s end, a pedestrian navigation function built into the BMW i app can guide him or her to their final destination via walking or taking a public transportation connection. How cool is that!!! The detailed specs including pricing is due out soon and when they arrive we’ll surely be on it.