The i8 Concept, which was recently unveiled from BMW, combines the advantages of two different drive systems.
As a plug-in hybrid, it reaps the benefits of an electric motor and an internal combustion engine for maximum efficiency with maximum dynamics.
The i8 has its roots in a previous concept car called BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, which generated quite a bit of excitement and positive feedback at the International Motor Show (IAA) in 2009.
BMW designers found that the Vision EfficientDynamics made it clear that an emotional sports car with the fuel economy of a small car is no contradiction, and could soon be reality.
After successful initial testing of the vehicle concept, the decision for a series-production vehicle was quickly made.
The BMW i8 Concept was the next step in the evolution of the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept. The result: The most progressive and innovative sports car of its time, according to BMW.
Its innovative plug-in hybrid concept combines the modified electric drive system from the smaller BMW i3 Concept fitted over its front axle with a high-performance three-cylinder combustion engine producing 164 kW/220 hp and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) at the rear.
Working in tandem, they allow the two drive systems to display their respective talents to the full, delivering the performance of a sports car with the fuel consumption of a small car.
The i8’s turbocharged three-cylinder, 1.5L engine helps take the vehicle to a governed top speed of 155 mph.
Like the electric motor, the 1.5L was developed entirely in-house by the BMW Group and represents the latest state of the art in conventional engine design.
With acceleration of 0 to 62 mph in under five seconds, BMW says the vehicle also can achieve fuel consumption of close to 94 mpg.
The hybrid concept means that the BMW i8 can run purely on electric power.
The energy supplied by the application-designed battery system installed between the front and rear axle modules to the electric motor at the front axle gives the BMW i8 Concept an all-electric driving range of approximately 20 miles.
And, the battery can be fully recharged in two hours at a standard power socket.
Thanks to the two drive systems, all four wheels of the BMW i8 Concept can be operated at the same time, similarly to an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
This solution combines the advantages of front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive to ensure the optimal dynamic drive configuration as required.
Depending on traction conditions and driving situation, intelligent dynamic driving systems ensure maximum energy recuperation without compromising dynamics and stability.
This allows very high levels of energy recuperation even in the wet or in snow.
While the production version of the i8 won’t be around until 2013, it was recently revealed that the i8 will be seen in the upcoming “Mission Impossible IV Ghost Protocol,” set for release in December.