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Posted: 7:56 a.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BMW enters the electric vehicle market

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By David Lardner, Contributor

ClarkHoward.com


In a 3 continent introduction, BMW has unveiled its first electric vehicle (EV), the i3.

Simultaneously announced in New York, London and Beijing, BWW staged the flashy introduction to show off what they’ve described as a ‘purpose built’ EV.

BMW has said that the i3 will achieve 100 miles or more on a single charge and will retail for $42,275 when it is introduced to the US market early next year.

So, what sets this car apart from other EVs currently on the market?  As BMW stated, it’s purpose built, meaning that it was designed from the start, like the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S, as an electric vehicle.  Other EVs on the market like the Fiat 500E, Smart ForTwo ED and Ford Focus are modified EVs based on gasoline counterparts.

Purpose built EVs tend to be more functional in terms of space usage because batteries are placed out of the way.   The Fiat and Ford both suffer from bulky batteries in the luggage compartments that can reduce functionality.  Purpose built models tend to place the batteries under the passenger compartment, thus opening up interior space and lowering the center of gravity.

BMW also noted that extensive use of carbon fiber and sustainable power sources will be used to construct the car.  BMW is building the i3 in a facility that is powered by hydroelectric and wind power, which they are heralding as the beginning of ‘sustainable mobility.’

BMW will likely sell every one they build.  Not to be left out of the game, Mercedes will introduce an electric version of its B-Class around the same time that the i3 hits the market.

So, the choices for EVs are expanding quickly so consumers should have a wider variety of options within the next 2 years. 

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