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2014 BMW i3 Electric Car Caught In Chicago

 

BMW's i3 in Chicago. Image: YouTube user jprothe

BMW's i3 in Chicago. Image: YouTube user jprothe

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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.

 

[YouTube]



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Comments (4)
  1. Awesome, and great find. But the Volt is not a series hybri: it is a range-extended EV. A series hybrid uses the engine and electric motor in "series" one after the other to move the wheels. In a range-extended EV, the engine only serves as a backup generator to power the battery, with the motor powering the wheels at all times.

    Laura K. Cowan
    Transportation Editor, Inhabitat
    Founder and Editor, 29Diapers.com

    laurakcowan [at] gmail
     
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  2. Laura, there's some debate on that very topic. GM prefers to call the Volt an extended-range EV, but the SAE does indeed refer to it as a series hybrid.
     
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  3. Well that's interesting. The GM fleet folks who delivered our Volt test car were very emphatic about the range-extended EV thing, because the engine serves as a generator to power up the battery but never actually drives the wheels as it would in a hybrid. I suppose it depends on who gets to define the term hybrid then, right?
     
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  4. Laura, that's exactly correct. GM wants to distance the Volt from the hybrid label, since the average consumer can't distinguish between a "parallel hybrid," like the Toyota Prius, and a "series hybrid," like the Volt. Calling the Volt an "extended range EV" avoids that confusion, and is still entirely correct.
     
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