BMW just unveiled their i3 urban electric car in Frankfurt last month, and it’s already racked up some impressive frequent-flyer miles. An observant car fan who goes by the You Tube user name of jprothe recently caught the diminutive, city-car- of-the-future filming a commercial on Wacker Drive in Chicago.
Chicago’s a long way from Munich, but BMW wants to show prospective buyers that the i3 isn’t built for European cities only. Its subcompact size makes it ideal for urban parking, and it’s got a few other stand-out features for urban dwellers, as well. Wide coach-style doors make entry and exit into either row easier, and the i3 forgoes bucket seats for benches both front and rear. Bench seats, you see, make it easier to exit or enter the car if a door is blocked (or if you’re parking curbside in rush hour traffic).
The 2014 BMW i3 is expected to have a battery-only range of 80 to 100 miles. That’s good enough for most urban dwellers, but BMW wanted to make the i3 suitable for suburbanites, as well. When the battery range is depleted, a gasoline-powered, range-extending generator kicks in, giving the i3 the advantages of both an electric car and a gasoline-powered car. Like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, the BMW i3 will be categorized as either an “extended-range electric” or “series hybrid," depending upon your preference.
Look for the BMW i3 to debut in 2013 as a 2014 model, at a price point of roughly $35,000.