BMW 'Pushes the Envelope' with i3 Electric City Car
BMW invited journalists to attend the i3 press drive event in Los Angeles one day prior to the opening of the Los Angeles Auto Show. I was excited to learn I’d be able to participate, not having yet driven an electric vehicle. The i3 - and quite frankly the entire i series strategy - represents a huge risk for BMW. The manufacturer has invested over $4 billion to bring the electric cars to fruition, having built them entirely from scratch.
The i3 has a unique modular architecture BMW calls LifeDrive. Passengers sit in the Life Module which is a CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) ultra-lightweight structure. The aluminum drive module encompasses the powertrain and chassis. By locating the battery in the floor of the Life module, the usual divider in the floor is done away with, leaving the passengers with more space.
BMW greeted us at the L.A.-area hotel with a fleet of about twenty Solar Orange i3s in the parking lot. After a walk around and in-depth description of the features from the BMW I series specialist, I was ready to get behind the wheel. My partner for this journey was the only other Canadian journalist invited by BMW, Mr. Michael Smith of Toronto-based Corporate Knights Magazine.
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