According to BMW, the electric car is designed both for private and selected fleet users. "The aim is to test the use of electric drive for everyday purposes in an electric vehicle which offers the driving pleasure which is characteristic of BMW automobiles," the car maker said in a press statement.
For the first time, electrical energy is stored in a lithium-ion battery pack developed jointly by BMW and the co-operation partner SB LiMotive with a new stable temperature regulation function optimizing the battery pack performance.
The electric motor is completely integrated in the rear axle and the power electronics are positioned above the motor. Space is used for energy storage which in vehicles powered by a combustion engine would be taken up by the conventional drivetrain and fuel tank.
Acceleration from zero to 100 km/h is listed at 9 seconds with a top speed of 145 km/h. As with the Mini E, the real-world range is expected to be about 160 kilometres on a single charge, depending on conditions.
Flexible charging technology enables the lithium-ion battery pack to be recharged by a conventional power outlet at public charging stations or at a special wall box. On the European grid, the battery pack can be fully charged at a high-current power outlet (50 ampere) in as little as 3 hours. In North America, using a high-current (32 ampere continuous) residential wall box, the charge time is about 4.5 hours.
As with the Mini E, BMW is planning to field-test the electric vehicles with serial production planned before 2015.