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BMW i3 (2013) 170bhp hybrid available on order

The new BMW i3 has gone on sale priced from £25,680 with the £5,000 OLEV Government grant. The car can be ordered now, but the official UK launch date is on the 16th November 2013.

The BMW i3 is a hybrid design, powered by a synchronous electric motor with the option of a petrol ‘range extender engine’ which charges the battery on the go. There is plenty of power on tap, as the electric motor can produce 170 hp with 250Nm torque.

The car can be controlled with one pedal under normal circumstances, no need to use a brake pedal, although there is one available. When the driver removes his or her foot from the accelerator the electric motor changes from drive into generator mode, feeding power into the lithium ion battery. The recharging mode creating a side effect of braking, so there is no need generally to hit the brake pedal. The company say in city driving the car should handle 75 percent of the braking procedures without intervention from the user.

The BMW i3 can accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds and can hit a top speed of 93mph. BMW claim the car can travel between 80 and 100 miles between full charges. If you pay an extra £3,150 then you can get the range extender engine which is capable of powering a generator to charge the lithium ion battery on the move.

The range extender engine is basically a 650cc two cylinder 4 stroke motorbike engine producing 34 bhp. It is mounted next to the electric motor above the rear axle. The range extender increases the car’s maximum daily range to around 180 miles on a single tank of petrol.

Charging the car takes three hours to reach 0 to 80% charge via the BMW Wallbox system. The UK are offering a government grant which gives 75 percent for the provision of domestic charging points. Install for the Wallbox costs £315 inc vat. If you charge from a domestic wall socket it will take around 10 hours.

The fastest way to charge is to use public charging points, which you have to pay to use. These charge the car to around 80 percent from flat in less than an hour.

Internally BMW are offering three trim levels. BMW use natural fibres, naturally tanned leather and sustainably sourced wood. The cars offer a zero road fun license charge and are exempt from the London Congestion charge.

BMW i3 price £25,680
BMW i3 Range Extender price £28,830.

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