BMW has further strengthened its commitment to an electric mobility future by announcing the opening of its first i Store on July 25. To celebrate the event, the German auto giant has developed a new folding pedal-electric bike called the i Pedelec. Like the Voltitude, the new bike can be rolled along when folded to make getting on and off trains or buses, or in and out of elevators, a little less troublesome, and benefits from a geared electric hub motor, high performance batteries and disc braking at the front and rear. BMW also says that two folded i Pedelec bikes can be comfortably squeezed into the trunk space of its forthcoming i3 EV, and that their batteries can be charged while in there.
Situated next door to its BMW and MINI Stores on Park Lane in London, UK the new i Store showroom is described as a dedicated customer-oriented access point for its future range of electric vehicles and associated support solutions. The company's Ian Robertson is reported to have said at yesterday's press preview, that the new consumer experience "gives people a perfect opportunity to learn more about electromobility and get close to our future electric and plug-in hybrid BMW i vehicles."
BMW has also taken the opportunity to detail plans to provide customers with a four-pillar support package comprising assistance services, public charging point installation, the i Wallbox home charger, and flexible mobility solutions.
Robertson also presented the i 3 Concept EV which premiered at last year's Frankfurt International Motor Show. BMW has now confirmed that the i3 should reach the marketplace by the end of 2013, with the i8 plug-in hybrid following the year after. Both vehicles will be on show at the i Store, along with the new i Pedelec folding pedal-electric bike.
As the three-speed 42-volt electric hub motor of the bike's 16-inch rear wheel will only provide motor-assist up to 25 km/h (16 mph), after which you're on your own, BMW says that its green commute solution doesn't need to be insured or registered, and the rider is not required to obtain a license or wear a helmet. The motor delivers 20Nm (14.75 foot-pounds) of torque and can feed some juice back to the battery during braking or when riding downhill.
The i Pedelec's lithium-manganese battery pack is said to offer between 25 - 40 km (16 - 25 miles) per charge, depending on usage of rider profile. It reportedly takes four hours for a full recharge from empty via a domestic mains plug or while on charge in the trunk of the i3 EV, or 1.5 hours on a quick charge. The bike is also said to weigh less than 20 kg (44 pounds) thanks to the lightweight yet strong aluminum and carbon fiber frame.
As with the initial unveiling of the i3 and i8 vehicles last year, there's been no mention of when the new e-bike will reach the marketplace or the proposed cost, but we'll let you know as soon as we know.
In the meantime, the BMW Born Electric world tour begins this month in Rome. There'll be a brief stop in Japan and then the U.S. leg kicks off, before a return to London in 2013. The new year will also see visits to France and China.