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Archive for July, 2012

Two years ago BMW released their Vision EfficientDynamics concept and now the car has officially re-emerged as the BMW i8 concept.

The i8 features LifeDrive architecture, BMW says that adapting cars engineered for internal-combustion power to electric propulsion results in a lot of excess weight and forces the car to be compromised. Therefore the i8 is built using two purpose-built modules: one to hold passengers, called “Life”, and one for propulsion and suspension components called “Drive”. Together it creates the “LifeDrive” branding for the car.

The i8 is a plug-in hybrid with a powertrain that is split between two axles, an electric motor, and direct-drive transmission at the front axle and a gas engine and transaxle at the rear. Unlike other BMW cars, the battery pack in the i8 uses lithium-ion chemistry and is elongated to deliver shots of power in short spurts. The capacity of the battery is around 8 kWh. The use of lightweight material allows the i8 to use a smaller, lighter battery than what would be needed for a car made of steel. This frees up room in the cabin and keeps the overall weight of the car down.

The i8 uses a modified version of the i3’s electric motor, with a peak output of 129 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. It’s fed juice, of course, by those lithium-ions, and takes about two hours to charge from a 240-volt trough. Battery topped off; the i8 will return 20 miles of all-electric driving. It makes an astonishing 220 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Altogether, the hybrid powertrain makes 349 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. BMW says the i8 is governed to 155 mph and it will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds. That puts this car in elite company within BMW.

The i8s styling mimics the entire Life and Drive them by having layers of light-gray panels over a black and clear sub-layer. Many of those clear layers, like the lower half of the swing-wing doors, will turn opaque when production time comes. Besides just looking flat-out futuristic, BMW i models will be marked by a BMW roundel with a blue ring around the outside, blue accents on the grilles and side sills, and the “stream flow” C-pillar treatment.

Inside, the i8 concept forgoes traditional gauges and has a future-tech 8.8-inch display screen for reporting road and engine speed, as well as battery and fuel levels. In the optional Eco Pro mode, the digital gauges glow blue; in Sport mode they glow orange. A second screen tops the dash above the center stack to display navigation and infotainment functions, and the rest of the interior is clean, simple and made of sustainable materials.

For more information head to your local BMW dealer.