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BMW announces all new i sub-brand

Full electric i3 and plug-in hybrid i8

New BMW i3 and i8 drawings

The BMW i3 will be an electric city car and the i8 will be a larger plug-in hybrid

BMW has announced the launch of an all-new ultra-efficiency focused sub-brand, BMW i, with two new models set for launch in 2013.

The i3 and i8, will see the Munich marque launch its assault on the electric car market with a revolutionary new vehicle architecture. The i sub-brand will focus on ‘sustainability and premium mobility’ according to BMW, whilst retaining the company’s core values.

Read more about other eco cars

i for innovation

Based on innovative new vehicle architecture, the i3 will fall into the all-electric city-car market – a series production first for BMW – with dimensions perfect for urban environments yet commodious enough for its occupants.

In another first for BMW, the i3’s passenger compartment, or drive module, will be constructed using lightweight yet extremely strong carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), saving 300kg over conventional construction and offsetting the weight of the car’s lithium-ion batteries.

The chassis module will be constructed from aluminium and will house the high-voltage batteries and electric motors.

Read the Which? electric car guide

BMW i3 and i8 drawings

The BMW i8 will have sports car credentials

i8 plug-in hybrid shall accompany all electric i3

Marketed as a plug-in hybrid, the i8 will, according to BMW, blend the sporting ability of a high-performance machine with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car.

The i8 will share the i3’s new construction in what BMW is calling a small revolution in car manufacturing, with both cars designed respectively for their respective alternative drive systems.

Read more about hybrid cars and other green car technologies

Integration of technology

Alongside the new vehicle architecture, BMW are set to integrate a new range of mobility services into the sub-brand’s cars.

Able to be used independently of the cars, the systems will focus on improving usage of existing parking space, intelligent navigation with real time traffic information, intermodal route planning and premium car-sharing through a new partnership with the smart phone app, MY City Way.

Read our full reviews of current BMW models

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