Spied: 2014 BMW i3 Megacity Electric Vehicle

By Paul Riegler on 8 May 2013
  • Share

DSC_3201The production version of the BMW i3 Megacity vehicle, the Bavarian automaker’s first-ever all-electric production car, is getting closer to its launch (the first customer deliveries are slated for fall) and an i3 mule has been spotted by The Diesel Driver driving around Munich, albeit highly camouflaged.  Engineers are presumably hard at work, performing final tests in urban driving.  Sporting a prominent Hybrid Test Car badge on its driver and passenger doors and rear hatch, the three-door electric vehicle was seen at Munich’s Hauptbahnhof (main train station) which is currently under construction and  the driver was unable to exit the driveway, giving our photographer time to snap a few pictures.

Last December, BMW debuted the i3 Concept Coupé at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  The i3 Concept Coupé is a four-passenger vehicle, measuring 156” (3,964 millimeters) in length, 61.2” (1,555 mm) in height, and 69.6” (1,768 mm) in width.  Much of what we saw in the i3 Concept Coupé is likely to be present in the production version of the i3.DSC_3200

Both the i3 and ist sportier sibling, the i8, feature BMW eDrive technology, the designation for the drive technology used in electric and plug-in hybrid models.

The BMW i3 reportedly will have a range of between 80 to 100 miles (130 to 160 kilometers) under normal, day-to-day operation.  The car will be powered by a new high-voltage lithium-ion battery whose energy output (and, as a result, driving range) is less impacted by temperature fluctuations than batteries that are available today.  BMW is using an intelligent heating/cooling system that keeps the battery at an optimal operating temperature.    In addition to improved performance, this also improves the battery’s life expectancy.

The i3’s electrical components will also use less energy compared with conventional electrical heating systems thanks to the use of the heat pump principle, which results in a 30% energy savings.  Internal and external lights use LEDs for additional savings.DSC_3198

BMW will be equipping the i3 with BMW i ConnectedDrive services.  This functionality, designed for BMW eDrive technology, gives drivers a realistic estimate of the vehicle’s range prior to the start of a trip, taking in to consideration not only battery charge level, driving style, use of electrical systems, and vehicle mode but also route topography and real-time traffic data.  For example, the system will recognize uphill gradients on the route and calculate accordingly.

Recently, BMW announced a partnership with Solarwatt to supply rooftop and carport photovoltaic systems to BMW i owners.  The system will allow the vehicle to charge and also contribute power to the household.

(Photos: Accura Media Group)