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CNET News Video: BMW shows i3 urban electric car
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CNET News Video: BMW shows i3 urban electric car

1:40 /

In what it billed as a car for future cities, BMW took the wraps off its purpose-built i3 electric car, a four-seater hatchback that goes up to 100 miles on a charge.

BMW took the wraps off of its new i3 electric car in simultaneous events in New York City, London, and Beijing today. This new car is the result of a 5-year effort to develop an urban electric car. BMW considers this sort of the car of the future as there's increasing urbanization around the world. The car's design is very European. It's similar to the Ford C-MAX and that it's sort of a chunky, small crossover vehicle. i3 has room for 4 occupants and a hatchback for extra luggage space which gives it a lot of utility, but it doesn't look like the sleek performance vehicles that people in the U.S. have come to know from BMW. BMW constructed the body of the i3 out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. This is a fairly unique construction material for this class of vehicle and gives it much lighter weight than steel. Oddly this lighter weight doesn't result in much better electric performance than other electric cars on the market. BMW says the i3 will get a range of 80 to 100 miles which is similar to current electric cars from Nissan, Ford, and Honda. The acceleration is rated from 0 to 62 miles per hour at 7.2 seconds which is respectable but not remarkable. The BMW i3 will go on sale early next year for a price of around $41,000. Buyers will be able to apply federal and state incentives which could potentially get the price down to the low 30's.

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