The passenger car is to makes its mass production debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show slated for September
BMW will release the i3, the German automaker’s first electric compact vehicle, in Korea next May, BMW Group Korea President Kim Hyo-jun said at an academic conference on electric vehicles on May 14.
President Kim told the conference, jointly organized by the Environment Ministry and BMW, “The BMW i3 ‘born’ electric car is set to make its debut for mass production at the Frankfurt Motor Show slated for September.”
The BMW i3 Concept that was unveiled before mass-production is an uncompromising sustainable vehicle designed for urban areas. Driven purely by electric power and purpose-built to meet the demands of sustainable and emission-free mobility, the BMW i3 Concept embodies an intelligent form of urban transportation and commuting, the German automaker said.
The BMW i3 is part of the German automaker’s new brand “i.” The i3’s electric motor produces 170 hp with 25.5kg/m of torque and has a maximum speed of 150 km per hour. The battery-powered i3 has a range on a single charge of 130 km to 160 km, and the EV range can go up to 350 km with a REX range-extending option. It is a hatchback combining rear seats and trunk space designed to fix the drawback of the EV that it has less storage space. The Life Module comprising of the seating space is made with high-intensity and superlight carbon fiber-reinforce plastic (CFRP).
The i3 is different from Kia Motor’s Ray EV that made its debut in Korea last year and the soon-to-be Chevrolet’s “Spark EV” and Renault Samsung’s “SM3 Z E.” The existing EVs are produced or will be produced based on gas-powered vehicles, whereas the i3 has been designed as a pure-electric vehicle from the initial development stage.
BMW said it will release the “i8,” an environmentally friendly, high-performance plug-in hybrid EV that can be charged via outside electric outlets, next year.
BMW Group Korea President Kim Hyo-jun
Seminar on E-Mobility
In cooperation with the Environment Ministry, BMW organized the conference, titled “E-Mobility: Paradigm Shift and Development Options.”
Among those on hand at the event were Glenn Schmidt, BMW’s chief of government affairs, Park Kwang-chil, chief of the EV team at the Environment Ministry’s Transportation Environment Department, Kim Ki-ho, managing director of Samsung SDI, and other speakers.
The conference was designed to address the fact that EVs that have become a reality in accordance with stringent global curbs on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and work out policies on the promotion of EVs. It provided a look at a wide range of EV issues, ranging from EV technology and the overall industry to consumer/market trends and policies.
Schmidt claimed that EVs are the solutions to European and other governments’ efforts to cut down on GHG emissions. He went on to say that the supply of EVs cannot be addressed by a single company, but it requires governments’ active cooperation in such areas as subsidies and the establishment of infrastructure.
Those familiar with the Korean automobile manufacturing industry expect BMW to play leading roles in the supply of EVs in Korea since the German maker considers Korea among its major EV importers. BMW has been expanding such cooperation with the Korean government as the supplying of EV testing vehicles, which aims to boost the EV market. Korea’s largest automaker, Hyundai Motor, looks to the development of fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), a type of hydrogen vehicle.
In a related development, BMW plans to launch a car-sharing business in the interests of motorists in accordance with its release of the i3.
The BMW i3, to be released in Korea next May.