BMW's i3 in Chicago. Image: YouTube user jprotheEnlarge Photo
Somebody once said that if you stand on a street corner in Chicago long enough, everyone you’ve met in your life will eventually walk by. We’re not willing to try that particular experiment, but we’ll agree that Chicago can certainly play host to the unexpected. Like seeing the BMW i3 electric car concept rolling down Wacker Drive, for example.
The video below was captured by You Tube user jprothe on the streets of Chicago, and it stars the recently-announced BMW i3 urban electric car. The concept was only announced last month, and the video is proof positive that BMW was well into the development stages before the car was unveiled.
Set to debut as a 2014 model, the i3 is designed to be a city car, featuring such amenities as “coach doors” for easy access to both front and rear seats, and it uses bench seats to make egress in tight urban confines easier. Why open a door into busy traffic when you can just slide across the seat and exit at the curb?
Although detailed specifications are still lacking, the i3 is said to have a battery range of 80 to 100 miles. That’s more than good enough for a city car, but BMW is taking the i3 one step farther and equipping it with a range-extending gasoline generator, which makes it a series hybrid like the 2011 Chevy Volt.
BMW is targeting a price point of $35,000 for the i3, and we expect it to debut in 2013 as a 2014 model.