BMW officially unveiled its i3 concept ahead of the car's on-stage debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. Details on the i3 and upcoming i8 poured out. Click here for all of that initial info.

Recently, Consumer Reports' Eric Evarts spoke about the i3 with BMW chief engineer Ulli Kranz. Evarts asked of the i3's optional range-extending engine and, even though Kranz wouldn't discuss specifics, Evarts seems to have prodded Kranz in such a way that BMW's range-extending solution was revealed.

Evarts suggested to Kranz that one of BMW's motorcycle engines would be ideally suited for range-extending duties and, rather than deny this, Kranz' "eyes lit up when it was suggested that a motorcycle engine might be a perfect fit for such a car," according to Evarts.

Furthermore, Green Car Reports speculates that handling the i3's range-extending duties will be one of BMW's motorcycle engines, perhaps the company's twin-cylinder 600-cc unit. Specific details are, unsurprisingly, not available, but that's what future posts are for.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      Chip
      • 3 Years Ago
      Isn't this what cars from 2014 were supposed to look like 20-30 years ago? It's about time...
      Drakkon
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is one of those concepts that you wonder why someone didn't think of it earlier.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        otiswild
        • 3 Years Ago
        Actually, the ideal motor would be the new K16's inline 6. Same size or smaller than a bike's inline 4, but with perfect primary and secondary balance. (actually, the _IDEAL_ motor would be a microturbine running at peak efficiency and entirely disconnected from the mechanicals of the drivetrain for that)
          • 3 Years Ago
          @otiswild
          [blocked]
        Jarrod Barger
        • 3 Years Ago
        But, a single cylinder Rotax design is A) Cheaper to produce and B) Produces a significant amount of torque for it's displacement. If they're still going to use the engine for part-time driveline duties and not as a generator only, this would be a smart option. Also, BMW does not make a 650/800 cc variant of the Boxer twin. The larger engines suck more fuel, and you can lean out the single cylinder engines to perform far better. If done right you can get 80mpg out of a 650 (granted not at it's full potential, but you can do it). You will be lucky to hit 50mpg on a 1250cc twin when lugging the weight of a car
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jarrod Barger
          [blocked]
      IBx27
      • 3 Years Ago
      Makes sense, since they already make lots of different motorcycle engines. Score another to GM for the basic Voltec architecture!
        brunswick90210
        • 3 Years Ago
        @IBx27
        Except for the fact that the Volt was a failure in terms of sales and this will probably be a success.
        SpikedLemon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @IBx27
        Volt is an extended range Hybrid vehicle where the engine can drive the wheels directly. More of a dual-mode vehicle powertrain than an EV. This looks like it may land closer to what GM's PR has been claiming as an EV w/ motor to recharge the batteries.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SpikedLemon
          [blocked]
          otiswild
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SpikedLemon
          You _do_ realize that leaving out the engine-driving-wheels mode (which kicks in only after the battery's depleted) would have resulted in _less_ efficiency, right? And that to leave it out would only be for PR value?
          IBx27
          • 3 Years Ago
          @SpikedLemon
          What otiswild said. It's more efficient for the engine to drive the wheels, at speeds above 82mph and at less than 5% battery remaining, than for the engine to charge the batteries, then electrically drive the motor.
      Lachmund
      • 3 Years Ago
      there will be a pure electric and a version with a range extender.
      CarCrazy24
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love the idea! A small motorcycle engine should not only add great economy, but also can hopefully inject some passion into the plug-in hybrid range
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Jason Allen
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is another wonderful idea for efficient motoring. A 1 cyld engine is the most a small city car needs as a range enhancer for many people. It's not the only way but it is a smart way for some. I wonder if it's styling will be as diluted as the production volt is relative to it's debut. If you might never use the engine in an 'EV' why lug around something heavier than a small 1 cylinder? NVH might be the only reason I've heard that might make this set-up less than ideal.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Jason Allen
        [blocked]
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