It is our collective and individual responsibility … to preserve and care for the environment in which we all live – Dalai Lama
BMW cars have always been more than just cars. They are something like a Swiss army knife; a finely crafted tool with everything you need for whatever the road throws at you. A BMW is a specially designed machine that is worn like a Robot Man suit, one so technically advanced; you need to be a rocket scientist to understand all its complexities. To appreciate all that potential and fully understand why BMW makes its cars this way; all you need to do is drive one.
With the world spiraling into a climate change abyss and the future of oil as certain as Lindsey Lohans’ upcoming role in the film, everyone is turning to greener vehicles. Hybrids and electric cars are no longer fad toys, but have become a necessary and important cornerstone in the plan to get rid of oil. Once limited by bad technology and microscopic reach, the electric car is being reborn as a viable alternative to the beloved internal combustion engine. BMW has joined the fray with not just a new car, but an entirely new line of cars. The BMW i8 Concept is one of the first in a group of cars produced by BMW i, a new sub-brand for the marketing of low-emission (green) vehicles.
Along with the i8, BMW plans to introduce a convertible version called the i8 Spyder, as well as a small electric hatchback called the i3. The i8 hybrid electric vehicles are designed to combine the sportiness of normal BMW cars with the fuel economy of a small car. The design features a new BMW Vision Efficient Dynamic Concept, an innovative plug-in hybrid that combines the modified electric powertrain of the i3 Concept. The electric motor is equipped on the front axle with a rear-mounted, high-performance three-cylinder combustion engine for extended range. The engine will act as an on-board generator and BMW promises acceleration from 0 to 62 MPH in less than 5 seconds, along with an estimated 86 MPG.
The key to this setup is torque, which is available from a stopped start and will provide uninterrupted acceleration. Battery technology is based on ultra-powerful lithium-ion cells with an integrated liquid cooling system for ideal operating temperatures. The car can be charged from a home power supply system and can drive more than 20 miles on battery power alone. The architecture is known as LifeDrive and is basically a low-weight layered approach to car styling. The bottom layer is the Drive section, which encompasses the chassis, battery, powertrain, suspension, steering, and brakes. The top layer is the Life section, which is a carbon fiber reinforced plastic cabin. This is the first time carbon fiber has been used in a mass market vehicle and it was developed right here in the United States. The two sections are joined by just four bolts and industrial grade adhesive. With this configuration, BMW promises a low center of gravity, perfect 50/50 weight distribution and astonishing handling.
The i8 is incredibly beautiful, with wide lines and a flat silhouette. It features a large see-through greenhouse (though I doubt the production version will remain unchanged) with doors that open upward like wings. The car is statuesque and organic, with a distinctive kinetic wedge shape and forward stance. From the front, the car has typical BMW design cues that are complemented by two full U-shaped LED light setups. There is also a semi-transparent black V that rises from the hood and gives a glimpse of the electric motor and cell. Carbon fiber Life. At the rear there are three-dimensional air vents, a massive rear diffuser and “floating” taillights that match the U-shaped headlights. Both the headlights and taillights pulse like the heart of a futuristic monster and the effect is astonishing. .
Inside the i8 there are large transparent surfaces on the doors and roof that give each section of the car the appearance of merging. The interior is finished in a layered design with a White Porcelain support frame, a black technical trim and a Mocha Brown finished comfort section. The effect is modern and comforting at the same time, and the dash and center console are clean of excessive buttons and switches. The instrument cluster consists of a large display with information delivered in a high-resolution three-dimensional format. There is also a separate centrally mounted information display. The i8 is expected to be priced at around $ 122,000 USD. Production is expected to begin sometime in 2014.
Article courtesy of Chris Raymond