BMW has started testing its electric-drive i3 in Northern Europe, as the German automaker looks to gather more testing information on the model it may launch as early as next year, according to Green Car Reports.

The company was testing the electric-drive prototype at its testing facility somewhere in Scandinavia, the website said, adding that it was unclear whether the car had a battery-electric or extended-range plug-in powertrain. Motor Authority posted pictures of the prototype here. The battery-electric i3 is expected to have a single-charge range of about 80 miles and a 0-60 mile-per-hour acceleration time of about eight seconds.

BMW said late last year that it would start selling its battery-electric i3 four-door next year and would start producing the plug-in hybrid-electric i8 two-door sports car the following year. An i8 prototype was featured last year in "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol," starring Tom Cruise. Last month, the German automaker released a video promoting both the i3 and i8.

In January, BMW started delivering the i3 precursor – the ActiveE – to customers who agreed to lease the vehicle in markets such as New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

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