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Old 05-17-2011, 03:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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BMW i3 Electric City Car Starting At $35,000; 150-HP and 160-Mile Range

BMW's little urban runabout is almost ready for the limelight, and some tantalizing details have been released: when it goes on sale, uh, eventually, it will be priced at $35,000, or around the price of a 3-Series Coupe.

And what does that $35k get you? Well, 150-horsepower, for starters—a lot for its size, and good for a range of 160 miles between charges, which will probably be far less if you take it to its 100-mph top speed. And with the electric motor in back (and the proper wheels driving the rear), the i3 leaves 14.1 cubic feet of luggage room up front and under the seats. The passenger cell will be made from carbon fiber, in a joint venture with Volkswagen, in order to keep weight down and balance out the batteries that line the floorboards.

Hey, carbon fiber ain't cheap. But BMW is banking on moving 40,000 examples annually from its Leipzig plant, currently being retooled to produce "i" electric vehicles. The i brand is BMW's future sub-brand of clean, cheerful electric vehicles, coexisting in the same slightly bizarre temporal plane with electric MINI Coopers, electric 1-Serieses, and the electric Phantom, which would still make a great name for an indie-electro noise pop band. Strange times indeed.

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