European automakers are hoping to electrify customers with a range of new battery-based offerings debuting at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and few manufacturers are staking out a bigger presence in the emerging electrification market than BMW.
The maker has been rolling out an array of hybrids over the last several years and recently revealed the first entry into its all-new sub-brand, BMW i. The little i3 is a relatively affordable pure battery-electric vehicle that will anchor the new battery marque. At the other end of the spectrum is the plug-in i8 sports car making its official debut at Halle 8 at the Frankfurt conference center – and carrying a six-figure price tag.
The i8’s numbers are likely to surprise those who think electric vehicles have to trade performance for energy efficiency. All the more shocking is what the BMW is squeezing out of the combined 1.5-liter 3-cylinder gas engine and electric motor combination: a total of 362 horsepower. Thanks to a lightweight carbon-fiber body and unique, low-mass platform, that will let the new BMW i8 rocket from 0 to 100 kmh – 0 to 62.5 mph – in just 4.4 seconds, the maker claims. Top speed in electric-only mode is 75 mph. (more…)