BMW will present a new version of its i3 Concept electric vehicle at the Paris Motor Show later this month. This time around, BMW is emphasizing its holistic approach to sustainability by focusing not just on the all-electric drivetrain and extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) to reduce weight, but on the renewable materials employed to put the finishing touches on the high-tech interior.
As examples of an interior design that's "consistently geared towards sustainability" BMW points to the i3 Concept's eucalyptus dashboard which is from a sustainable source in Europe (meaning freight distances are kept short) and to the use of natural fibers like wool and a leather tanning agent extracted from olive leaves.
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We're not sure that the interior trim will be garnering the most interest in Paris though. More likely to turn heads is the striking use of (lots of) glass, opposing doors, non-existent center-tunnel and high-tech gadgetry, which includes and 8.8-inch Central Information Display, a 6.5-inch "instrument cluster" and a third screen to take care of the audio and air conditioning functions.
Like the original concept study shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011, the vehicle is built on BMW's LifeDrive architecture. This includes the Life Module passenger cell made from carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) which BMW says "achieves a whole new dimension in terms of weight, structural rigidity and crash safety" and in turn improves range.
And performance? The all-electric i3 packs 125 kW/170 bhp and 250 Nm of instantly accessible torque which BMW says will take it from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in under eight seconds with a top speed of around 150 km/h (93 mph). Battery charging takes six hours in a regular power socket and using a dedicated BMW "i Wallbox" a one hour, 80 percent charge is claimed.
The really interesting news is that this concept is getting close to reality – the BMW i3 is slated for serial production in 2013.View gallery - 23 images