The press calls i8 “The sports car of the future.” When the BMW i8 debuted in the Frankfurt Motor Show on September 10th 2013, it was perhaps one of the most anticipated concept cars taking its ultimate form in the history of BMW.
This is a super-charged premium vehicle combining the practicality and sustainability of an environmentally conscious hybrid with the extraordinary handling and the intense physique possessed by a sports coupe. It took more than 6 years of research and development before its official debuted, and the goal was to create a visionary car that will have a positive impact within the industry as well as taking a stance for social and environmental responsibilities. They say you should not judge a book by its cover, but the cover alone already had us convinced. Just take a look at the i8, who doesn’t want to drive that sexy hybrid?
“Green” Auto Innovation in a Larger Picture
How did the new flagship stir up so much commotion in the BMW world and has drawn fans all across the continents to await its release? This is the first innovation of a premium plug-in hybrid supercar operated by electric power and a TwinPower Turbo engine exclusive developed by the BMW Group. i8 is an animal of its own kind, it symbolizes the future trend of technology – the technology that that preserves the environment for the future but does it in stunning style.
In today’s world, every company has a social responsibility to protect to the environment. The i series represents BMW’s value and mission to build not only a car, but a brand that is proactively preserving the environment and reducing pollutions, waste productions and the fast spread of urbanization. BMW has taken home the title of “world’s most sustainable automobile manufacturer” in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for eight years in a role; an achievement hard to overlook.
The Concept of a “Plug-in Hybrid” Supercar
This is only the beginning of a sustainability revolution. BMW Group has been notorious for producing big-engine, atrocious beasts, and this eco-friendly plug-in hybrid supercar have given a whole new definition to BMW’s “sheer driving pleasure”. BMW served up their unique concoction by combining the TwinPower Turbo technology developed for their infamous M models with yet another great innovation – eDrive technology and came up with the plug-in hybrid all-wheel drive concept.
The front wheels receive their power from the electric motor via a two-stage automatic transmission, while the rear wheels of the i8 are driven by gasoline engine via a six-speed automatic transmission (more about i8 performance in the next section: BMW i8 – The “Green” Powered Driving Machine). So on one hand you have an eco-conscious electric motor delivering exceptional efficiency in fuel consumption, and on the other is all the roaring persona of a BMW performance breed.
Related: BMW i8 – Look of the Future
The BMW i ConnectedDrive services is an extension of the BMW EfficientDynamics. Owners can create an account through the online portal and register for a personalized profile to access and control a range of online services and vehicle statuses for their cars. The gateway provides information regarding the vehicle such as location, driving range, battery level, charging stations, helpful tips, service messages, various status alerts, concierge service, and much more.
Individualized ConnectedDrive information can be synced to your vehicle and they can be linked and accessed through the complimentary My BMW Remote App (US) from your smart phone. The app can perform a varieties of services just like the web version and it can also remotely initiate charging of the i vehicle when connected to a charging station.
BMW 360° ELECTRIC
The BMW 360° ELECTRIC is solution package offered to the i-model owners that allows the battery pack to be charged at home or at any Charging Station quickly and conveniently. The ChargeNow Card is a cashless charging and payment card offered by BMW for locating and recharging at public charging stations and at mobility services such as MyCityWay and ParkatmyHouse.
Charging and Refueling
Electric Recharge: To recharge the i8, owner can utilize the charging cable provided by BMW to plug into a standard household 110-volt power outlet. Charging can also be done at BMW i Charging Stations or any public charging station. A standard 110-volt power outlet will charge the battery from empty to full in around 3.5 hours, while the 220-volt power from electric charging station shortens the charge time to about 1.5 hours.
Gas Refueling: The 11.1 gallon capacity gasoline tank requires premium unleaded gasoline.
One of the essential safety elements in the BMW i8 is the heavy utilization of Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Plastic (CFRP). Its flexibility, and high tear resistance; its extremely sturdy characteristics offer the necessary protections for passengers in crash tests.
CFRP’s strength is comparable to steel, and it makes the vehicle perform well under side impacts. The impressive CFRP Life module can absorbs forces from impact with minimal distortion. In addition, Front airbags and side airbags integrated into the seat backrests, head/curtain airbags for all seats, three-point inertia-reel seat belts with belt stoppers, belt tensioners and belt force limiters for all seats provide extra layers of protections for occupants.
Moreover, the battery mounted at the center of the underbody is in a position where force of impact is statistically the least during an event of a crash. For extra safety measurements, when the passenger restraint systems are triggered, the battery will disconnect from the high-voltage system and the connected components will discharge.
Price and Federal Incentives
The 2014 BMW i8 has a manufacturer’s suggest retail price of $135,700 plus application tax, destination and handling charges as well as any applicable fees in the US market. The hybrid is eligible for federal and state incentives where qualifies.