• Apr 1st 2011 at 3:28PM
  • 18
2013 BMW i3 prototype – Click above for high-res image gallery

As if the spy video we featured previously wasn't enough proof, today we've confirmed that the smallest BMW i family offering, the i3, will be coming to market in 2013 with a rear-wheel-drive powertrain, and the electric motor powering those wheels will be mounted amidships.

The platform, which is all-new and primarily comprised of carbon fiber, was developed to house the motor ahead of the rear wheels, with the battery pack mounted below the trunk. According to a BMW spokesperson, the drivetrain can be completely separated from the body, making service and replacement a cinch.

The first version of this all-electric drivetrain will be fitted to the ActiveE 1-Series, BMW's second EV after the Mini E, which will make its North American debut at the New York Auto Show later this month. However, the primary difference between the i3's system and the unit fitted to the ActiveE is the battery pack. On the i3, the cells will be grouped together, whereas the electrified 1 Series will have battery packs spanning the space between the passenger compartment and the trunk. Additionally, BMW will be using the NY show to announce the lease plan and pricing for the Active E, so for those looking to get in on the EV sports coupe action, start saving your pennies now.



[Images: CarPix]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      "EV Sports Coupe?" Where?

      All I see is a micro car with a mid-mounted motor. A good start, sure, but let's see words like "manual transmission" and "sticky tires" or "0-60 sprint" and "lap times" before we start calling it anything close to a sports coupe.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "let's see words like "manual transmission" and "sticky tires" or "0-60 sprint" "

        Manual transmission on an electric car? If your drive an EV you don't need to shift gears either automatically or manually, they drive in first gear all the time.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's RWD, it utilizes tons of carbon fiber, and it's a BMW. This thing will be fun to drive, though expensive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I believe "EV Sports Coupe" referred to the "Active E", the electrified 1 series.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I tell you what, I love the drivetrain layout, but Im afraid I wont like what its wrapped inside.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This better not be an April Fool's thing because this is the first piece of good news I have read about this little car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I don't think you quite understand. electric motors are much smaller than engines so 'mid engine' is quite meaningless. it's not like a lambo where the engine takes up the back half of the car. it's just a little drum attached to or part of the rear axle. same as Tesla Model S
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think you don't quite understand. I couldn't car less that it's mid-engine. I am excited about it being RWD.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ENOUGH WITH THE APRIL FOOLS ARTICLES!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hope this thing has LSD for some sideways action!!! If not, I hope there will be aftermarket versioN!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Cool, BMW using rear drive (and mid-engined no less) in even their dorkiest applications is a good sign for future models.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I have faith in mankind.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "According to a BMW spokesperson, the drivetrain can be completely separated from the body"

      Just like an old VW bug. Electric dune buggy anyone???
      • 4 Years Ago
      So much win. Now make a hi-po version and lets see it rally.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is "I" for Isetta?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm pretty sure this was confirmed months ago.

      Also, just because the drivetrain can physically be separated from the body, I wouldn't be so quick to conclude that servicing is a "cinch."
      • 4 Years Ago
      And suddenly the i3 doesn't seem so bad.

      The i8 is the one I'm interested in, though.
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