BMW’s range of electric and plug-in hybrid cars, consisting of the i3 city car and the i8 supercar, aren’t expected to see production until some time next year, likely debuting as 2014 models. The Munich-based automaker wants to be sure that the cars are fresh in consumers’ minds, so it’s released a new video to show off the i3 and the i8.
The i3 hatchback will be available as either a true battery-powered electric vehicle, with a range of up to 100 miles, or as series hybrid with an onboard, gasoline powered generator like the Chevrolet Volt. To broaden the i3’s appeal, BMW is taking steps to keep the cost down, targeting a $35,000 price point for battery-powered models.
The i8 coupe, on the other hand, will be a halo car for BMW, with an emphasis on both high performance and environmental responsibility. Designed as a plug-in hybrid, the i8 will use a three-cylinder engine to power the rear wheels, supplemented by an electric motor powering the front wheels.
An “energy tunnel” will house the lithium-ion battery pack, and helps give the i8 both a low center of gravity and perfect 50/50 weight distribution front to rear. BMW says the i8 will run from 0-60 in under five seconds and top out at 155 miles per hour, yet return fuel economy as high as 78 mpg.