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BMW Debuts First Electric Vehicle Made Primarily of Carbon Fiber

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the brand-new dept.

Transportation 164

Elliot Chang writes "BMW debuted its 2014 i3 EV in New York City this morning. The new car is the world's first purpose-built electric vehicle made primarily of lightweight carbon fiber. The new 2014 BMW i3 electric vehicle will be powered by a rear-mounted 170-hp electric motor coupled with a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery. The range of the standard i3 will be 80-100 miles, but drivers wanting to go the extra mile, so to speak, will be able to opt for a two-cylinder range extender engine that will boost the i3s range to about 180 miles. The new i3s DC Fast Charger will be able to go from a fully drained battery to about an 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes when plugged into a public EV fast-charging station."

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164 comments

Reality check... (3, Funny)

Nullifier (911937) | about 9 months ago | (#44417943)

The new car is the world's first purpose-built electric vehicle made primarily of dollar bills.

Re:Reality check... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418029)

Cotton Fiber?

Re:Reality check... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44420015)

Only in the USA.

Re:Reality check... (5, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 9 months ago | (#44418163)

I know... it is going to be crazy expensive, not all that practical.... and worst of all... ugly as sin.

Why couldn't they have converted a 1 or 3 series to full electric+carbon fiber? The bourgeoisie would be kicking down the doors for a chance at something like that,

Re:Reality check... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 months ago | (#44418393)

Because right now the 1 or 3 series are also ugly as sin.

Call me when they fire the stupid designers and start making cars that look like they did earlier when BMW made sexy cars.

Re:Reality check... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418947)

... The bourgeoisie would be kicking down the doors for a chance at something like that,

Pants the bourgeoisie!!

Re:Reality check... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 9 months ago | (#44420145)

worst of all... ugly as sin.

I've decided to keep my old car until I can replace it with an electric vehicle.

This has almost everything I need, range is great - my daily drive is 30km, so it'll be fine for that and a fair bit more. Performance looks excellent for the type of vehicle and while I'm not a BMW fan, I expect it'll be reasonably well constructed. If the price is really 40k, it'll be high, but acceptable given the lower running costs, though I expect by the time it lands in Australia, it'll be double or triple the price in rest of the world...

But then as you say, its looks are ...special.

From the side, you'd think the designer had his/her elbow jolted while they were sketching the doorline, and the corresponding rear roofline dip is likewise utterly horrible. It has that kitschy little wedge just behind the front wheels to make sure it looks dated and busy instead of clean and efficient. And that wedge-shaped black fillet from the underbody to make it look like it's braking hard while standing still. Why?

The front isn't totally despicable, though the twee fake blanked off radiator intakes should have been binned and the person suggesting them slapped on the head with a (steel) tyre iron. It's ELECTRIC, you idiots. Not keen on the contrast colour sideburn headlight droopy bits either, but I could live with them.

The back looks bulky, saggy and committee-designed, not nice, but not appalling either, while the interior is generic enough to be ok, provided you can option out the baby-poo mustard yellow and soviet-bloc concrete grey contrast trim.

I mean, I want an electric car that does what this one does. But I sure as hell don't want this one. Mercedes? Volkswagen? Opel? Ford? Are you listening?

Re:Reality check... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418745)

Best guess this EV would cost around 45K USD. Not sure if the making and disposal of lithium-ion and carbon fiber is any cleaner than running my fuel-stingy paid-for car that still gets nearly 40mpg. Car metal could be reused, not sure what they do with used carbon fiber. Perhaps this car is intended for people who blast the radio for attention and think having a BMW badge makes them "cool". No thanks!

hundreds of lbs of materials vs. TONS of gasoline (1)

spage (73271) | about 9 months ago | (#44418937)

You don't dispose of lithium-ion, you recycle it. CFRP (Carbon fiber reinforced plastic) isn't recycled much, though there are initial plants that can recycle the fibers into a lesser grade.

But you're focusing on the wrong thing. A 1.5 ton 35mpg car is going to burn through 10 tons of gasoline over 120,000 miles, and that gasoline is very polluting to produce, spill, refine, and deliver before it all goes up in smoke. All reputable studies find that 75-90% of the pollution from a car comes from operating it, not manufacturing it.

As to whether you should ditch your 39 mpg car for an i3, so long as you sell it to someone who junks their gas guzzler then it's a win for the environment. The average fuel efficiency of the automotive fleet goes up.

Re:Reality check... (2)

quenda (644621) | about 9 months ago | (#44419187)

... the First Electric Vehicle made primarily of plastic.
Carbon fibres are just the re-inforcing, so this car is no more "primarily carbon fiber" than a concrete building is "primarily steel".

What a POS (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 9 months ago | (#44417953)

Butt ugly, $40,000+ and a mere 100 mile range. They will sell about 4 of these.

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418049)

Mod up! Why the hell do the majority of EVs have to be hideous?!!! I could live with 100 mile range, but not in the love child of a BMW and a Fiat. Seriously, it looks like the Fiat got pregnant and then shit this thing out.

Re:What a POS (4, Insightful)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 9 months ago | (#44418107)

Why is it they keep making UGLY electric cars. I love the idea of an electric car. If they put something on the market that is:
Not ugly
Not horribly slow.
At a reasonable price.

I will buy one. So will a lot of other people. In my opinion the 100 mile range is (just) good enough. The range extender engine is a good idea.

Re:What a POS (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 9 months ago | (#44418199)

What happens when you ding one of these thing? Are body shops going to be able to fix the composite panels?

Re:What a POS (1)

cheese_boy (118027) | about 9 months ago | (#44418411)

Are body shops going to be able to fix the composite panels?
Corvette body shops have been doing fixes for fiberglass panels for years. I would expect carbon fiber repairs to be very very similar. Possibly even using fiberglass cloth in non-visible areas to repair the carbon fiber. Sure fiberglass might be a little heavier, but no one's going to care about the extra 3 ounces when it's an extra pound of epoxy on that crack/hole. And if it's $50 cheaper, probably the body shop will take the cheaper method.

Re:What a POS (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 9 months ago | (#44418629)

I have to wonder why they'd even consider carbon fiber for body panels on a production vehicle (which this not)

CF is lighter and stronger (but far less flexible!) than fiberglass, but it's certainly not lighter than plastic. Plastic body panels are not OMG new technology, we've had them in a number of production vehicles since the 1980's.

Re:What a POS (1)

sshir (623215) | about 9 months ago | (#44418757)

BMW says that panels designed for quick replacement. Like snap on/ snap off. And considering that those are not carbon fiber but cf reinforced plastic, they shouldn't be that expensive (relative to labor costs of traditional body work.)

Re:What a POS (2)

craigminah (1885846) | about 9 months ago | (#44418203)

Your commend reminds me of a signature line a project manager I worked with recently had:

"you can have it fast, cheap, or good, pick any two."

It is currently impossible to satisfy all the things you'd like, pick any two.

Re:What a POS (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 9 months ago | (#44418487)

Pick two is one of my favorite expressions.

However this project seems to have ended up with none of the 3 objectives.

Fast: No
Cheap: No
Good: No

Re:What a POS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418293)

And time machines! When will corporate america wake up and build us our damn time machines! I'd totally buy one, and I bet everyone I know would too! As long as they were under $100 and made doughnuts. Those guys are idiots!!!!

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418363)

It's called a Tesla. The reasonably priced model comes out in 2016 ("Gen III").

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418385)

How about BMW puts out a vehicle that does not have to go back to the dealership to be reprogrammed if the battery gets disconnected? Supposedly this is to make sure the battery life is in sync with the vehicle's computer for delicate components... but every other car maker doesn't need to do this in any fashion.

At least Mercedes makes stuff that is useful. A G class can at least play with the Jeeps.

Re:What a POS (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 9 months ago | (#44418435)

Not horribly slow.

BMW is claiming 0-60 in under seven seconds.
That's fast for a compact car, but slow for a compact car that costs $40k~$45k.

Then again, no one is buying this car for its acceleration.
/And the range extender adds 12% to the car's weight.

Re:What a POS (2)

jon3k (691256) | about 9 months ago | (#44419415)

I don't see how this is horribly slow? 170hp in a very light (carbon fiber) and very small car makes for totally reasonable performance for the average human.

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418135)

Butt ugly

Amen. I've seen Lego cars that are more streamlined than that boxy thing. I wonder if this is done on purpose so they can say "electric cars just don't sell!"

Re:What a POS (3, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 9 months ago | (#44418341)

I'll actually bet that it has a lower friction coefficient than many muscle cars. It's decently streamlined for it's job: Moving people/cargo around a city. It's also short (front-to-back) so it's easy to maneuver and park. I'll bet it can seat four (maybe two with real comfort, but I suspect the back seats aren't bad), or carry a decent amount of cargo.

It's boxy because a box is an efficient shape to contain a large amount of space in a small amount of area. With this thing's range, it is not intended to cruise down the freeway; it's made for short trips inside the city.

Re:What a POS (1)

adolf (21054) | about 9 months ago | (#44419823)

Muscle cars do not, almost by definition, care about much about friction coefficient.

Even if we assume you mean "modern supercar" instead of "muscle car," a primary goal there is the generation of downforce. And downforce increases the coefficient of friction. (IOW, neither "muscle car" nor "modern supercar" belong in a comparison with "fuel economy": That's not what the buyer really cares about.)

That all said: It could be made more attractive. Perhaps more to the point, it could have taken a few styling cues from traditional BMWs instead of eschewing them wholesale.

And, frankly: Buyers of new BMWs are frequently buying style, as perhaps they well should: They're not inexpensive cars. But the I3 would look positively ugly in my driveway next to my 1995 325i.

(FFS, it'd probably look ugly next to my 2002 GMC Safari work truck.)

Re:What a POS (2)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 9 months ago | (#44419865)

Actually, I meant 'muscle car', as a couple of other posts in the article comment thread were wishing it (or electric cars in general) looked more like a muscle car.

All in all, I don't actually see it as ugly that everyone seems to be complaining about.

Re:What a POS (1)

adolf (21054) | about 9 months ago | (#44419881)

In the grand scheme of things, perhaps it isn't ugly.

But it certainly looks ugly compared to my 325i.

Just sayin'. :)

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44420059)

Your 325i looks ugly as all hell. You're self deluded or just flat out blind if you think otherwise. There is a reason why BMW drivers are know as self important assholes, they think their shit doesn't stink because it has a W at the end...

Not bad from windshield back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418661)

Butt ugly

Amen. I've seen Lego cars that are more streamlined than that boxy thing. I wonder if this is done on purpose so they can say "electric cars just don't sell!"

Ignore the hood. Start at the windshield and go back, it does look fairly streamlined. Its also not bad looking from the windshield back. Its really the hood that is a complete disaster. As for dimensions, I think that somewhat reflects its intended use, highly urbanized areas.

Re:What a POS (0)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 9 months ago | (#44418215)

To walk, first we must learn to crawl.

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418289)

To walk, first we must learn to crawl.

To walk, I guess one must first put a bag over one's head. Then, while ignoring all the people walking upright around you, one should try getting around by shoving one's head across the ground, face down.

Seriously, do they have Internet connectivity at BMW? Do they know the Tesla Model S exists? Or the Nissan Leaf, for that matter?

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418291)

Bullshit. I have a 1-year old niece that went straight from rolling around to walking. She never bothered to crawl and whenever my sister would try to get her to crawl, she would just sprawl out and lay flat in defiance. A couple months after my sister gave up on crawling, my niece started walking back and forth in her play pen without holding the rails.

Of course, your statement doesn't apply to this BMW POS anyway, but the next time you feel the need to waste our time with this worthless statement, just know that it's unfounded bullshit.

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418911)

'course, she'll probably end up a serial killer ...

Re:What a POS (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418255)

Butt ugly, $40,000+ and a mere 100 mile range. They will sell about 4 of these.

It's a BMW. Jerks with more money then sense will buy it. Then drive it like the road is all theirs and everyone else is in their way.

You know what the difference between a porcupine and a BMW is? A porcupine has pricks on the outside.

BMWs are crap; (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418313)

Butt ugly, $40,000+ and a mere 100 mile range. They will sell about 4 of these.

No, they'll sell a bunch of these because they are a car brand for posers - and for folks who know nothing about cars.

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418773)

you have to factor in north carolina, texas and other states trying to push tesla's direct sales approach out of those markets. bmw has a traditional dealer network.. so maybe only 10 or 12 will sell, but surely more than just 4.

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418873)

Since you are more concerned with form over function, could you please provide a list of vehicles which are not "butt ugly"?

range anxiety is overrated (4, Insightful)

spage (73271) | about 9 months ago | (#44419085)

Unlike Slashdot commenters, most Americans live in multiple-car households. If your regular driving is less than the range you're set, because you use the family gas hog for those occasional journeys, or Zipcar.

From the surprisingly favorable Top Gear review [topgear.com] , "BMW reckons nearly all i3 buyers will use it as a second car so won't be doing long journeys, and it's optimised to make them efficient and fun."

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44419215)

People buy Volts at the same price.

Re:What a POS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44419855)

what is the average mileage driven a day by an individual in the US ?
40 miles give or take.
But just as a Suburban is not for everyone - neither is this.
Nor is a Porsche Boxster or a Merceded G555 or a Harley.
If I have power outlets at my office - I did - charging it at work would even be an option.

These are the new future. Let me guess ,,, you are over 40 ?

Two-cylinder (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 9 months ago | (#44417961)

Ok, probably just being pedantic, but what do they mean by two-cylinder on an electric motor? I thought cylinders were reserved for motors with explosions inside.

Re:Two-cylinder (4, Informative)

bananaquackmoo (1204116) | about 9 months ago | (#44418047)

The engine is optional for people with range anxiety. You use it to generate electricity, not to drive the wheels directly.

Re:Two-cylinder (1)

Andy_R (114137) | about 9 months ago | (#44418483)

It won't cure range anxiety totally though, it only has a 2.4 gallon fuel tank.

Re:Two-cylinder (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418809)

You can at least hitch a hike to the gas station on a pinch instead of hoping your 30 feet extension cord would reach.

Tesla Roadster, anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44417987)

I'm sure the BMW is intended to be more of a mass-market vehicle, but it's hardly the first electric car body that makes heavy use of carbon fiber for weight reduction.

Re:Tesla Roadster, anyone? (1)

spage (73271) | about 9 months ago | (#44419035)

The Tesla Roadster was the first and for a while the cheapest car to use all CFRP body panels, but Tesla's site talks of its "monocoque chassis, constructed of resin-bonded and riveted extruded aluminum."

From TFA the i3 is "the first mass-produced auto with a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic passenger cell mounted onto an aluminum chassis"

So you're both correct.

Re:Tesla Roadster, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44419665)

You do know that the Tesla Roadster body was just a Lotus Elise with a higher price tag?

Re:Tesla Roadster, anyone? (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 9 months ago | (#44419095)

makes heavy use of carbon fiber for weight reduction.

Yet somehow it's still 2700 lbs.

I think car manufacturers have lost any sense of what light weight means.

I've got a midget made of steel with a heavy ass cast iron block at ~1500 lbs and a modern much safer miata at 2,100 lbs.. sure neither are electric or have the heavy batteries, BUT there are lithium-ion batteries at around 125wh/kg meaning that 22kwh would be ~400 lbs.

Sorry but i really don't know what the hell they are doing to make modern cars so damn heavy, and the reality is that weight is a huge factor in range, as much if not more important than the aero factors (unless your just horrid at aero designs)

Not primarily from carbon fiber. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418063)

This car is not made primarily from carbon fiber. It is an aluminum framed car with plastic body panels that have been reinforced with carbon fiber.

the only problem now is .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418081)

... who can actually afford it? It's great that they're getting in to the game with this but until an EV is made that the average human being can buy without selling their kids and mortgaging their soul it's just worthless.

Re:the only problem now is .... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418111)

MSRP is over 40,000 dollars.

Not out of BMW's standard price range, and if you count the money from the gas you're NOT buying, it's probably a net gain very quickly.

Re:the only problem now is .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418131)

Factor in the cost of a new battery every X years as well please, and the fact that you will almost certainly have to take this to a dealership to have any sort of work done on it.

Re: the only problem now is .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418429)

It's a BMW, expensive repair costs are a given.

Batteries are nothing compared to trips to the gas station.

Re:the only problem now is .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418591)

Factor this: 8-yr, 100,000 mile warranty by which time the 22 kWh battery capacity will be reduced to ~15 kWh.
If you're under the impression that a 15 kWh battery that can deliver 100+ kW of power is fit only to be junked, then you couldn't spell clue if you fronted the C and L.

Re:the only problem now is .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418413)

You're exceptionally bad at math, aren't you?

Re:the only problem now is .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418939)

You're rather average in your remarks, aren't you?

Re:the only problem now is .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44419083)

your electricity is free? what magical land do you live in? i want to move there

Convince yourself you are not driving a golf cart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418099)

by putting a BMW logo on it

That ugly on purpose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418103)

I don't get it. Do car manufacturers make their electric vehicles ugly on purpose?

Re:That ugly on purpose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418281)

Have you ever actually *SEEN* the Tesla S? I mean up close?

That is one heckuva fine looking machine... Maybe not worth as much as what they are asking, but definitely a very sexy car.

Re:That ugly on purpose? (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 9 months ago | (#44418603)

I have and it's one SEXY beast. They need to do something eye-catching with the front grille but otherwise, it's a damn fine piece of auto artisanry

carbon fibre body, lithium ion batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418121)

Carbon fibre body, lithium ion batteries, company starts with a "B", where have I heard this before???
Let's hope these things don't catch fire...

Another butt-ugly electric car... yawn (1)

dickplaus (2461402) | about 9 months ago | (#44418133)

Yet another electric / hybrid car that looks like crap IMHO. Why not make it look more in line with your other models?

One thing I wish Ford or one of the companies that built muscle cars, was take that body style, almost copy it exactly, and convert it into a hybrid or electric vehicle. Obviously, they'd have to change alot of stuff for structural integrity, make it carbon fiber, etc, but keep the body shape and curves.

Imagine a car that looked like a 70's Mach 1 that was hybrid or electric... Of course, then people can't be smug driving these cars. Saying... Thanks!!

Re:Another butt-ugly electric car... yawn (1)

Art Challenor (2621733) | about 9 months ago | (#44418407)

The problem is that you need to make a car aerodynamic to make it either fuel efficient or to have a good electric range. The muscle cars were not particularly built with aerodynamics in mind - consume enough gas and you can overcome almost all air resistance.

What I find interesting is that there must be one, or at best a few, optimum aerodyamic designs. Eventually all efficient cars will have to adopt these shapes with, possibly, minor variations. That said, Tesla's and Prius's have two of the lowest cv's around and don't look much alike.

Re:Another butt-ugly electric car... yawn (2)

jxander (2605655) | about 9 months ago | (#44418427)

All about aerodynamics, and walking the razor's edge ... how low can you dial the engine power, and still get reasonable performance.

The Chargers, Challengers, GTOs, Camaros, Barracudas, etc of old contained so much raw power that they could push around big flat-faced grills, hood scoops, and a few extra tons of pig iron without missing a beat (well, your heart might skip a beat when you consider the single-digit mpg those behemoths pulled) This little 100 hp engine couldn't get a chassis like that out of the driveway, let alone up to freeway speeds.

Re:Another butt-ugly electric car... yawn (1)

adolf (21054) | about 9 months ago | (#44420019)

Eh?

My first car was an early Chevy Beretta with a bit less than 100 HP.

Highway speed? Easy. Maintaining it? Total non-issue.

Faster than that? It's been long enough that I do not remember how what speed that car would maintain, but it was way faster than should be considered safe on most American highways.

Now: That car was fairly light. It had two doors, was FWD, had no side-impact beams and no airbags, no ABS, etc. In terms of fuel-injected vehicles, it was pretty barren of safety features, and thus light on weight.

Discussing whether a modern car with a 100HP gas motor (there are no electric engines) can get it done on a chassis that makes heavy use of carbon fiber? Silly.

Getting up to highway speed with a 100HP motor in an old muscle car? Ridiculous.

That would probably work better than the ~300HP 4.8L V8 dually 8x7x12 box truck we just got at work, and that gets on the highway just fine with an another half-ton of tools and kit in the back. Is it a race car? No. Does it get on the highway? Yep, no excessive drama, even on short ramps with proper application of the loud pedal.

Getting a muscle car out of the driveway with only 100HP? Jesus Fuck: Assuming you don't stop to help the bystanders you just scared to half to death, you'll have a hard time making the turn onto the road. (Many of the cars you delineate were sold, successfully, with around 100HP: Not every Camaro had a big block V8.)

Re:Another butt-ugly electric car... yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418855)

You will probably be interested in a new care company named Telsa.

20 min of fun (0)

m2shariy (1194621) | about 9 months ago | (#44418139)

170 hp is about 130 kW, driving at 50% throttle is 65 kW. 22 kWh translates into 20 minutes of fun then :) Even at 1/4 throttle it is 40 minutes. Can drive 100 miles in 40 minutes?

Re:20 min of fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418211)

The car is not meant to be "fun", it's meant to be a commuter car. If you want something fun, buy an M3 or an M5.

Re:20 min of fun (1)

haruchai (17472) | about 9 months ago | (#44418625)

If you have the cash for either of those Beemers, you can also have a lot of clean fun in a price equivalent Model S.

Re:20 min of fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418225)

The electric motors are oversized to allow for at least some energy-recovery during breaking.

To reach the range its probably more like 50 mph at 11 kW for 2 hours. Obviously, without much fun.

Re:20 min of fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418715)

I think if the car is breaking, recovering energy is the last of my concerns.

Re:20 min of fun (1)

imsabbel (611519) | about 9 months ago | (#44418241)

You might not realize it, but I would bet a lot of money that 90% of the time, you are using less than 20% of the power your car has.

Seriously. If you have a 200HP car, it will do that if you floor the pedal a bit below the redline. Normal driving? It takes maybe 15-20HP to keep a car moving at 70MPH on the highway.

Re:20 min of fun (1)

fnj (64210) | about 9 months ago | (#44419957)

Not only that, but even on the highway most of the time most American drivers are doing 5-25 mph in absurdly heavy traffic, at more like 2-3% power. With a super-sized gasoline engine at those speeds their efficiency is going to be pretty near nil. With battery-powered electric motor it will be quite high.

An i3 for $42,000. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418173)

At this price I expect to get at least an i7.

Re:An i3 for $42,000. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418409)

At this price I expect to get at least an i7.

At that price, I would at least expect to get an engine...

I thought Subaru was the only company who made you pay extra for an engine!!!

Carbon Fibre Durability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44418273)

For anyone who has worked with carbon fibre, would this car have its structural integrity affected by weather or road contaminants over time? Will it delaminate/deteriorate over time when exposed to road salts, hot/cold weather? Does a ding in the door mean that the entire door's structural integrity has been compromised? I've always wondered how long a carbon fibre driveshaft would last, much less the frame/structure that would save someone in a crash.

Re:Carbon Fibre Durability = Fiberglass (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 9 months ago | (#44419235)

How is fiberglass? It's basically the same thing, but with stronger, stiffer fibers. The matrix material is what you worry about.

One more but ugly car. (1)

sparkeyjames (264526) | about 9 months ago | (#44418437)

They really don't want to sell many of these do they? It's ugly. Design something that people would actually
enjoy looking at instead of just letting your designers go ape shit and producing a care only they could love.

More coverage at Top Gear... (2)

Andy_R (114137) | about 9 months ago | (#44418441)

Re:More coverage at Top Gear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44419043)

Did their testing consist of knifing the tires and then complaining the tires were flat?

wow, that is bad (1)

anthonywr (1982670) | about 9 months ago | (#44418553)

Wow that is ugly. I assume when this doesn't sell very well their execs will erroneously assume that people dont want EV's; when in fact people dont want butt ugly cars. Their execs should ask the people within their company who is proud of the aesthetic design of this thing... Id be surprised if anyone was. I expect that the group that designed this is suffering for diluted accountability syndrome and noone is accountable for this disaster.

Re:wow, that is bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44419397)

Yet people still buy the Scion XB and Nissan Cube, and going up a bit in size there's the Ford Flex. Maybe there's also a niche market for people with too much money that for some reason or other want a fugly car.

Butt ugly and another car designed for CAFE (4, Insightful)

AaronW (33736) | about 9 months ago | (#44418621)

It's yet another butt-ugly electric car designed to meet the California air standards to help offset carbon. With only an 80-100 mile range (180 with a gasoline range extender) and it's butt ugly looks I don't think Tesla has anything to worry about. It'll join all the Nissan Leafs that are constantly charging around here. For $22K more you can get a much nicer Tesla model S (not counting $7500 federal tax rebate) with a 208 mile range (EPA). The Leafs are actually rather annoying.

For the few times when I actually do need to charge (and there's not yet a Tesla Supercharger) all the spots are clogged up with Leafs because they have so little range. A friend of mine has one and he's always having to look for a place to charge whenever he goes anywhere.

Cars like this are fine if you're just driving around town or have a short commute, but even driving around the Bay Area these cars aren't all that practical unless you have a second car with decent range. At least it supports rapid charging though BMW is supporting the SAE standard referred to as "frankenplug" rather than Chademo which is far more common (but is only really supported by Nissan around here).

Note that I'm rather biased since I drive a Tesla Model S. In my case I've only driven my gasoline car a couple of times since I got my model S. Once was to go to a camping trip where there's no charging anywhere along the way out in the middle of nowhere over dirt roads and the other was to haul some garden supplies I didn't want in my Tesla. I've taken it from the Bay Area up to Lake Tahoe (destination at 7200' elevation) with zero problems. I just had to stop in Folsom long enough to eat lunch while my car charged. It was 106F while driving through the Sacramento valley as well so I ran with the AC set to 72. I worked out driving down to LA isn't an issue either since I can get by with a fast charge in Gilroy (only a few minutes since the car still has a lot of charge) then one battery swap (90 seconds) along the way if I don't feel like stopping and waiting again. A good alternative to Gilroy is to just drive south all the way to Harris Ranch and charge there while getting a good steak.

I think 150-200 miles is the magic number for EVs to really become practical for a lot more people here in the US.

Re:Butt ugly and another car designed for CAFE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44419231)

A longer review / press release here with additional pictures, http://www.autoextremist.com/on-the-table1/ [autoextremist.com]

One interesting feature mentioned, "In the front, the Slide Through Experience allows the driver to slide through the car and exit on the passenger side, to avoid exiting into a busy city street. This is made possible because of the absence of the transmission tunnel."

Re:Butt ugly and another car designed for CAFE (2)

hibiki_r (649814) | about 9 months ago | (#44419659)

Yeah, and extra 22k can get you a much nicer car. You can say that of pretty much every car on the road. For that, you can also trade in my son's bicycle for a new car.

Re:Butt ugly and another car designed for CAFE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44420471)

I'm amused at the way the crap rolls downhill in EV circles just like everywhere else.

The Tesla people hate on the Leafs clogging /their/ charging stations, because they have 'so little range'. Tesla owners paid to have privilege, so they should get all the stations, right?

The Leaf people hate on the Volts clogging /their/ stations, because volts "aren't a real EV, just another gas burner" and they should go off to the gas station to get home, and leave the chargers to the proper-and-pure EV folk.

And everybody hates the plug-in prius drivers. Not pricey & cool like Teslas, not pure EV like the Leaf, and even the Chevy folks love a good bit of Prius baiting (to try and distance themselves from 'hybrids'). All the carpool-lane-clogging of the mid 2000's all over again, for even more money!

And if you have a 'fender bender'... (1)

alexschmidt (1026034) | about 9 months ago | (#44418831)

If this thing hits anything bulkier than a shopping cart it's a write-off. That's the problem with composite materials: They don't bend, they break!! Insurance on these will be pretty rich. (but if you have the money for this BMW I guess it's not an issue..). Still, be wary of people who think everything should be made of some super light weight composite. It's a complete mess to work with and will leave you crying even after the slightest accident.

Re:And if you have a 'fender bender'... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 9 months ago | (#44419285)

On the contrary, it will do better under light impact. Anything strong enough to damage it's integrity would crumble a steel panel, too. You know the cheapest way to fix a crumpled steel panel? Yeah, you replace it. Bondo is or dings this thing won't show.

Not that it matters - this thing is so fucking ugly a good work over with a baseball bat would be an improvement.

CAR not CARE (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about 9 months ago | (#44419117)

can more than half of you seriously not spell car?

I can see why you keep tying care/cares instead as your typing it in the back of your mind your probably thinking "No one cares about my opinion"

Well, I think it looks cool (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 9 months ago | (#44419401)

Everyone is calling it ugly, I don't get that at all. This is nothing close to other hideous electric designs. I think they nailed the ergo for it. Priced right for the target demo, nails that parent's-2nd-commuter-car with the range, and has the space to pick up groceries on the way home or a couple of kids on "your" night. Your other vehicle is a minivan for the long distance stuff; this one for the work week.

boring (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | about 9 months ago | (#44419943)

Wake me when somebody develops a rechargeable battery with an energy density within spitting distance of gasoline and that's cheap, which I think will not include using lithium, for which we would have to strip-mine Bolivia to serve a fraction of the potential demand for EVs. That will have to be a battery that uses the oxygen in air as half of its electrochemistry.

Basically, we're spoiled by fossil fuels like gasoline, which have the singular advantage that the oxidizer is available everywhere, for free. If my 2006 Rav4 had to carry the oxygen (in non-cryo form) to burn its ~12 gallons of gasoline, I'd probably have payload space for me alone.

A calcium-air battery that could survive a few thousand deep discharge cycles could fill the bill. Maybe another common metal like magnesium, but I'm too lazy to consult the electromotive series right now. Very tough materials science challenge.

Until somebody develops such a battery, I expect electric vehicles to retain their bimodal distribution - either they have a uselessly low range, or they're lifestyle playthings.

Made for Asia (1)

soccerisgod (585710) | about 9 months ago | (#44420275)

These days, BMW sells a hell of a lot of cars on Asian markets, especially to China. China has a growing middle and upper class, and these people want fine German cars (not to mention the know-how of how to build them).

China, like many other Asian countries, also has a massive pollution problem. You can't leave the house without a breathing mask in Bejing pretty much. That's the kind of market the BMWi i3 is made for. So if you're wondering why it's not designed to your expectations, that's probably why :)

And you can steal it with a USB cable and a Raspbe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44420491)

.. If its anything like some of their other cars.

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