Feature: BMW i8 – New electric hybrid taking on Tesla

Electric cars are popping up everywhere; if you believe the hype they will create world-peace and end all starvation. Except for the Tesla Roadster many of them are hideous, and less fun to drive, BMW is about to change all that with the BMW i8 plug in electric hybrid.

I had the pleasure to see the I8 at a motor show in Sweden, it looks very promising. The design is one of the best ones out there for any hybrid or electric car, it looks futuristic but not like the car in the Jetsons, more like a really fast futuristic sports car.

The interior is still a bit like any other modern BMW, it’s a two-seater with a very limited back-seat. You will recognize the iDrive system, the gear stick and many other features from other BMW-models. This actually a good thing in a way, the BMW driver environment has always been great and there is really no reason to change it. However BMW added some blue colors around the logo on the steering wheel, to make it look prettier.

The body is made of carbon fiber and aluminum, making the car very light-weight, around 1490 kg. To enable a solid weight ratio the heavier lithium-ion batteries have been placed in the middle of the car.

BMW i8 are powered by a turbo-charged 1.5 liter three cylinder petrol engine and an electric engine. This makes the i8 much more versatile than Tesla and other none hybrids, since it both have petrol and an electric engine, thus not requiring the same infrastructure.

The petrol engine only runs the back-wheels producing 231 horsepower. The front-wheels are powered by the electric engine, producing 131 horsepower. When both engines are working together the top-speed is 250 km/h, 0-100 km/h will be reached in 4.5 seconds.  The maximum range is 500 km:s, but there are different driving modes (Sport, Comfort and Eco-pro). In the Eco-pro mode the car will have a 20% additional range.

When hitting a corner with the BMW i8 the petrol engine will start working, when leaving the corner the electric engine will take over, according to BMW this creates better driving characteristics and handling.

Unfortunately only 500 of the BMW i8 will be manufactured each year, which will probably not keep up with demand. According to BMW the first manufacturing series is already sold-out.

Check out some of my photos of the BMW i8 below:

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