BMW i3 - Why this little EV has big potential

Discussion in 'EV (Electric Vehicle) Discussion' started by ggood, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i think the i3 will sell okay here, but not competitively at the starting price. i don't see any features that most people will be willing to spend more on than a leaf. it's all about range. paddle shifter? really? flat seats? boxy? ugly? bmw badge? these are selling features? i can't wait until they 'move the flat seats into the other bmw's' to see how that flies.;)
     
  2. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Green Car Congress: California’s new ZEV rule introduces the BEVx; ARB staff expects these vehicles to play a longer-term role than plug-in hybrids
    "The basic rationale, according to ARB staff, is that such a vehicle has the potential to expand the BEV market beyond current market estimates by giving interested customers an extra measure of confidence about range, and if successful, would add substantial zero-emission vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to the overall California fleet."

    BMW and possibly other car makers wanted to provide a range extender while getting full ZEV credits. This makes the car an easier sell while cost/energy density/etc. of batteries is limiting most 'mass market' BEVs to <100 mile ranges. The 'limp mode' and fuel tank limits are intended by CARB to ensure most of the miles driven by the car are electric. With the i3, it might just be a software change to make it a near full function PHEV.
     
  3. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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    BMW AG has to find ways to balance out their gas guzzlers to make up for C.A.F.E. standards.

    They might have to even sell the I3 at a deep discount and a loss, but in the end, they will make out in their overall strategy. The key is making an overall corporate profit.

    To me, they would have done better, if they used an aluminum chassis with standard plastic "hang on" panels.
     
  4. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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  5. sosarahsays

    sosarahsays Member

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    Yes, exactly. I can't speak for the UK, but we are trying to put the cart before the horse with EVs since many areas lack infrastructure to support them. Living in a city, I drive short distances, but I don't have a garage. Most people in DC don't. I can't imagine running a cord out of my house every evening to plug a car in (that's just asking for some neighborhood kids to eff with it...), but that's my only option because public charging stations aren't commonplace yet. Say I lived in the suburbs and had a garage... great, I can charge the car in the safety and comfort of my home, but then my commute would likely be longer than the range per charge. Even with the infrastructure in place to not have to go too far our of your way on a longer trip to charge, you'd still have to stop, hope a station is open, and plug it in every 1.5-ish hours. The range is too short to be worth it.
     
  6. ggood

    ggood Senior Member

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    For the naysayers, these features seem innovative to me:

    1. a chassis largely woven of carbon fiber reinforced plastic
    2. a traffic jam assist that enables the car to drive itself at low speeds
    3. remarkably thin (but comfortable) seats
    4. the double-DIN (normally in the center stack) is under the rear seat
    5. twist-grip shifter on the steering wheel (twist forward to drive, backward to reverse) – where’s “B” mode?
    6. skinny tires, 19 inch diameter & 6 inch width – is a 19 inch diameter a good thing, other than for looks?
    7. optional range extender (gasoline-powered generator) – not sure it’s worth it, but nice (and unusual) option.

    Also, the design and comfort level seem consistent with BMW's other cars, which I always saw as somewhat stark and utilitarian, rather than obviously luxurious.
     
  7. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    The car will be a plus if it isn't driven by the typical BMW driver. :p
     
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  8. sosarahsays

    sosarahsays Member

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    I will be surprised if it sells competitively. Who will it appeal to? BMW drivers want comfort, style, and performance. They will get none of those with the vehicle. Boxy, non-leather seats, and a car that can drive for less than two hours without stopping? Blah! For eco-conscious people who want to make a statement driving an EV, I think the initial price point will be too high.
     
  9. sosarahsays

    sosarahsays Member

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    LOL, I can't wait to see someone driving one of these things with 19" spinners.
     
  10. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    Yes, large, thin wheels are good.

    I see this car having appeal. (Not for me because luxury car dealers are even worse rip-off merchants than their mainstream brethren.)
    - BMW is a brand trusted for reliability
    - The car is efficient thanks to weight reduction techniques so ...
    - It will be cheap to run
    - As a BEV it has good performance and a heat pump
    - As a BEVx it is free of range anxiety.

    I think a Leaf BEVx would grab more sales as well. A REx isn't cheap, but it's a relatively inexpensive way to deal with range anxiety, allowing an owner to forget abiut extremes.


    - It has a heat pump for the
    - The REx will help red
     
  11. ny_rob

    ny_rob Senior Member

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    Was just thinking the same thing!
    All we need is a bunch of lawyers at the charging stations :mad:
     
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  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    The big advance of the i3 isn't that it is a BEV with an optional range extender. It is the cost reductions BMW achieved with carbon fiber. Aluminum frame with plastic panels would have cost less, but weighed more and brought down the car's efficiency and range.
     
  13. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    If you don't need 5 seats it will be an all-round better car than a Leaf. More range at higher efficiency with better performance. Better performance even with the REx. Comfort is the only thing I couldn't speak to. Negatives would be BMW dealerships and tires that are hard to replace.

    I definitely see a market for it.
     
  14. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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    Steel comes first when it comes to "reparability."

    Aluminum comes second. Most all high end cars have adopted aluminum. That includes Ferrari, Audi, Maserati, Jaguar and Rolls Royce (owned by BMW AG).

    Carbon fiber is extremely expensive to repair. Witness the Lamborghini Aventador.


    Aluminum and abs plastic recycles easily; NOT carbon fiber made with epoxy.
     
  15. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Carbon fiber can be recycled. With the limited amount in circulation in comparison to other plastics, there isn't the incentive to develop a recycling stream for it.

    Just about any metal is easier to recycle than plastic. Aluminum constructed with rivets isn't. That is why GM's new spot welder that came out in the past year is a big deal. Standard welders had a higher failure rate to the welds when used for aluminum. So car makers opted to use rivets. GM can now make aluminum cars without rivets.

    BMW's techniques with working with carbon fiber will make it possible to use the material affordably in less expensive line ups. Shaving weight is a big part of improving efficiency. The i3 without would likely end up at the same range a the Leaf. It is why Toyota has teamed up them with FCEVs. To gain access to that knowledge.
     
  16. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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    The commonly recyclable plastic are PET(polyethylene terephthalate or polyester), polyethylene, polypropylene and abs (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene). Epoxies are NOT commonly recyclable.

    The problem with rivets in aluminum cars is the use of A2 stainless steel, which is non-magnetic. A martensic or magnetic stainless steel would make recycling much easier. Aluminum rivets have been used in aircraft for years. Most all aluminum aircraft is recyclable. The solid aluminum rivets use in aircraft, however, requires a very labor intensive process. More many need to be used, but aluminum "pop rivets" would be fine. The high end Morgan sports car's panels are fastened with "pop rivets."
     
  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    will traffic jam assist be legal in the u.s.?
     
  18. nwprius

    nwprius Member

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    I want one!!! I like the styling and I also think the Prius hatchback is great styling. The thin tires are for fuel efficiency, not looks. The thin seats could be as comfortable as thick seats are, we have to wait to try. The most comfortable seats I have ever used were in the Huey Helicopter I flew in Vietnam and they were a mesh net material with no thickness. Doesn't need the B mode because the paddles allow you to use the generator motor to slow the car. Must wait to see how well the car drives with the 'range extender' engine. Unfortunately I too need more mileage available, I have one car, and I live in homes 225 apart. Still going to be very tempting. Looking forward to drive trial. And, the carbon fiber is quite easy to repair, very much like the fiberglass of the Corvette. I repaired a hole in a carbon fiber canoe just as I would have with fiberglass. I believe the i3 is not being built for the typical BMW owner but for those innovators like most of us and will create more BMW owners.
     
  19. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    do you get the range extender for 45k?
     
  20. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    When the Leaf first came out I said that it was a $30,000 DOT approved 4-seat golf cart with climate control.
    I'll admit that my initial impressions for this car were (and are) a little harsh, and it's proven to be close to viable transportation for urbanites, and you almost don't have to be a one-percenter to own one now that the price point is dropping.

    This BWM seems to be a LEAF with a bigger price tag, a little bit better looking body, and the promise of an optional range-extender to extend the range from ?? to ???.
    When the leaf came out everybody was drooling over a 100-mile EV that sold for less than $50k.
    The EPA says that the range is 75 miles, and the real world price is now below 30....which is the REAL 'win-win' for this vehicle.
    If you don't have to drive very much, and mass transit is (*cough!*) not an option, then you can use the green leafy thing.

    Add about $15,000...use a smaller battery (the leaf has a 24 kW·h battery and the Beemer has a 22 kW·h) and you can say that you have a BMW....and if you add about 5 thousand bucks more?
    You have 3/4 of a Volt battery with half of the ICE generator.....in a BMW body.

    I actually like the fact that das volks in Bavaria ( Leipzig, Germany) are tinkering with it.
    I look at it like I look at Mac products.
    It's a technology generator, and some day there will be a real hybrid car (very useful battery range, backed up by useful ICE range) that 99-percenters can afford. :)

    That will be the real 'win-win' for the Beemer.

    Merry Christmas!