Category Archives: i8

BMW i8 on charge (Image: Chargemaster)

Government sets out new powers to shape electric vehicle charging infrastructure

The government has set out its plans for the future of UK electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK, including powers to standardise new publicly accessible chargepoints; requirements for smart technologies to allow chargepoints to help balance the grid; and minimum provision of charging infrastructure at motorway services.

BMW i8 on charge (Image: Chargemaster)
BMW i8 on charge (Image: Chargemaster)

The proposals have been unveiled as part of the government’s plans for a Modern Transport Bill, which will be introduced to Parliament at the earliest opportunity.

Within the response to a consultation on proposed ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) carried out at the end of 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) has outlined a series of new powers to increase deployment of charging infrastructure.

Within this are plans to require infrastructure installed for the purposes of charging EVs to have ‘smart’ functionality to receive, understand and respond to signals sent by energy system participants.

This would allow charge points to help balance energy supply and demand in a similar way as battery storage, although the plans did not explain if this infrastructure would be able to access the same revenue streams open to storage.

This measure was met with overwhelming support from respondents, with 90% approving of the plans which could allow EV charging demand to “form a controllable load of immense proportions at a national scale”.

DfT also plans to adopt powers requiring operators of motorway service areas to ensure a minimum provision of electric and hydrogen fuels for ULEVs at their sites. This may mean they need to engage a third-party operator to provide the required infrastructure.

Read more: Clean Energy News

BMW plug-in cars (Image: BMW)

BMW’s i models form foundations for green future

BMW’s current fleet of vehicles has a number of green models available – but the company wants to push efficient cars further to the forefront of its model line-up and has developed a range of systems to help support it.

BMW plug-in cars (Image: BMW)
BMW plug-in cars (Image: BMW)

With the recent launches of the BMW 330e and 225xe plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models, the German giant now has a number of plug-in options spread across a variety of different market sectors. The X5 40e SUV has already been launched this year and the 740e PHEV is due too, giving BMW four PHEV models in its line-up in 2016 alone.

Add to that the i3 EV, i3 REX and i8 PHEV and BMW has a number of options available for those looking at plug-in models – compact citycars, a family MPV, a compact executive saloon, large SUV, luxury saloon and supercar.

BMW has also confirmed that it is continuing to work on hydrogen fuel cell (HFV) technology, to create a combination of set-ups – pure electric for short, regular journeys, and HFV for longer runs.

The new BMWs X5 xDrive 40e, 330e, 225xe, and 740e models are the first products to benefit from the research and development carried out by BMW’s iCars division. The i3 and i8 remain at the cutting edge of BMW’s efficiency programmes, but the lessons learnt from those models is already being filtered down to the next generation of ‘standard’ models.

BMW has announced that these PHEV variants will be grouped together under the banner of iPerformance – set to be launched at the Geneva Motor Show alongside the plug-in 7-Series. This brand is intended to indicate to customers the plug-in electric systems under the skin, and increased use of carbon fibre in some cases, despite the cars looking relatively normal, and not as futuristic as the i3 and i8.

Read more: Next Green Car

BMW i3

10 Most Fuel-Efficient Luxury Cars Of 2015

Kelley Blue Book released its list of the “10 Most Fuel-Efficient Luxury Cars of 2015.”

Ranking is opened by BMW i3 (second year in a row in the # 1 spot), followed by Tesla Model S, Mercedes-Benz B-Class ED, Cadillac ELR and BMW i8. Plug-ins capture the entire Top 5.

BMW i3
BMW i3

Best hybrid is at 6th and with more plug-in models coming, next year plug-ins could take the entire Top 10.

  1. 2015 BMW i3
  2. 2015 Tesla Model S
  3. 2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class
  4. 2014 Cadillac ELR
  5. 2015 BMW i8
  6. 2015 Lexus CT 200h
  7. 2016 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
  8. 2015 Lexus ES 300h
  9. 2015 BMW 328d
  10. 2016 Audi A3 TDI

About the winner:

“BMW’s i3 tops this list for the second year in a row. This electric 4-door’s design is modern and fresh, and truly stands out on the road. Not only is the i3 the most fuel-efficient luxury car, it’s the most fuel-efficient car, period. Adding a cure for anxiety is an available range-extending gas engine.

City/highway/combined mpge: 137/111/124
Range: 81 miles”

Source: Inside EVs

The BMW i3 and i8 used by Formula E

Record sales of BMW i3 and i8

BMW has seen sales of its electric division exceed 30,000 units by the end of the first half of 2015.

The i brand was launched in November 2013, when the i3 went on sale. More than 26,000 of the five-door family cars have been sold since then.

The BMW i3 and i8 used by Formula E
The BMW i3 and i8 used by Formula E

The i range was doubled when the i8 was launched last year. So far almost 4,500 units of the striking-looking plug-in hybrid sportscar have been sold.

In June 2015, total i range sales were 2,017, a rise of 65 per cent compared to the same month in 2014.

There has been a surge in the uptake of electric vehicles across the board. Vehicles such as the i3, the Nissan LEAF and the Mitsubishi have all played an important role in advocating a switch to electric transport.

With the UK government grant cap of 50,000 registered plug-in vehicles looming ever closer (now over 40k overall), the question is whether this uptake will continue to grow without the funding?

Source: Next Green Car

Fox News Reviews BMW i8 – Video

In this relatively short video, Gary Gastelu from Fox News takes a gander at the 2015 BMW i8.

Gastelu loves the looks/style, performance, handling, & efficiency of the i8. Who doesn’t?

You will hear Gary Gastelu, the reviewer of the i8, state:

“I don’t know how I am ever going to review a conventional car ever again…”

Looks like we are near the end of the era where performance cars get approximately 2 miles per gallon!

Source: Inside EVs

2015 BMW i8 Video Road Test

The BMW i8 is sleek and stunning, but it’s no V-8-powered supercar. Is it the car that will give plug-in hybrids sex appeal?

First, you need to know what makes the i8 go. This is no straightforward supercar: The i8 gets power in a complex way–it can be front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive, depending on the situation.

Here’s how: Between the front wheels there’s a 96-kilowatt electric motor–the equivalent of 131 horsepower. It sends power to the front wheels through a two-speed transmission.

That electric motor taps into a 5.1-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery mounted in the tunnel between the seats. It can run the car’s front wheels in its electric-only “Max e-Mode” up to 75 mph.

In the back, there’s a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine producing 231-horsepower. That power goes to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Combine them, and you have 362 horsepower, and a 0-62 mph time of 4.4 seconds when using both powertrains together.

Put the BMW i8 into Comfort mode, and the i8 behaves like a hybrid, blending gas and electric power as needed. Go faster than 40 mph, and it sends power to every wheel, for all-wheel drive.

Flip into Sport mode, and the gauges glow red, a tachometer replaces the power meter, and the powertrains go into beast mode.

Can the i8 really be an eco-friendly sports car? The EPA says it can run in pure electric mode for 15 miles; in hybrid mode, the i8 earns ratings of 28 mpg combined and 76 MPGe.

Drive it like a sports car, and you might only see 50 mpg on average. But when you do, you’ll get attention. A lot of it.

Let’s be clear: The i8 really isn’t a track car. It strikes a nice balance between sporty performance and high efficiency. It has really neutral handling, and precise electric power steering with decent simulated feedback.

It also has what we call “engineered” noise: BMW pipes in simulated power noises to make the i8 sound more sporty. Those noises get louder in Sport mode…but the i8 never is really, truly, blindingly fast. It’s just quick.

The drivetrain is exotic, but the i8’s shape is truly outrageous. Sure, there’s a BMW grille and something like a 6-Series shape, but it’s all swept up in huge futuristic swoops and scoops and wings–which all help smooth out its aero profile.

It’s something of a chore to get into the i8, but once you’re in, the usual iDrive controller and infotainment screens will be familiar.

The climate control and stereo both feature actual knobs, which is nice, and the gauge cluster is an LCD screen, which reconfigures itself based on the driving mode you’ve chosen.

These front seats are very comfortable, with heavy contouring. You sit low in the car, but visibility is just fine. BMW may say the i8 is a 2+2, but don’t expect to put average-sized humans back there if an actual adult sits up front.

The BMW i8 hasn’t been crash-tested yet, and frankly we want to see it happen–its bodyshell is made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic on an aluminum rolling chassis, and little crash-test data exists for cars made that way.

The i8 gets the standard suite of safety tech, from six airbags to the usual electronic safety systems, plus such active safety systems as a forward-collision warning system and surround-view cameras.

Priced from about $135,000, the i8 comes well-equipped, with iDrive and a 10.2-inch screen, navigation, BMW’s i Remote App, six-way power front seats, heated seats, LED headlights, and satellite radio. There are few options other than color.

So what’s the bottom line with the BMW i8? It’s a ground-breaking sports coupe with an advanced hybrid powertrain that has super economy and style, if not quite supercar performance.

Source: Green Car Reports

On the road: BMW i8 (Image: The Guardian)

BMW i8: Reviewing The Car Of Tomorrow

We were promised flying cars, teleportation and hover boards. We don’t have any of that. But now we have this: The BMW i8 and it’s a future that cannot get here soon enough.

My body hurt. My mind was numb. I had just spent a week in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show and was ready to fly home. But first I had to drive a brand-new 2015 BMW i8 to L.A. It’s a rough job, but someone has to do it.

The i8 is BMW’s latest supercar, able to go 0 to 60 in about 4.4 seconds with its hybrid electric/gas powertrain. The i8 looks like a Hot Wheels car, handles like a supercar and is as expensive as a high-end Porsche. With a starting price of $135,000, this isn’t the car for everyone. It’s actually a gateway into BMW’s other hybrid, the cute and cheap BMW i3, a shorter, sporty runaround that BMW is touting as their answer to crunchy hybrids from Honda, Nissan, and Chevy.

I set out, gassed up and fully charged. My time with the i8 was short. I had already spent several days cruising around Vegas where the i8 got more attention than the volcano in front of the Mirage. The car stopped traffic. People gawked from sidewalks and leaned out of cabs to snap pictures.

Stopping at a gas station was an exercise in patience. Everyone had to take a picture and tell me a story about a car they once loved but totaled. It got the most attention parked at a hotel across from CES where most thought it was part of BMW’s trade-show exhibit.

Nope, she was all mine for the next couple of days.

Since the i8 lacks a proper trunk, I jammed my luggage in the back seat and took off to LA down I-15. The sun was shining and the traffic was light. I didn’t plan on taking the quick route all the way to my airport hotel some hundred miles away. Nope, I had all day to get there and was going to make the most of my time with the i8. I turned off the expressway at the first sign of the Mojave National Preserve and found what I was looking for: empty desert roads. I smiled and I assume the i8 did as well.

It’s astounding BMW made the i8 at all. It’s a concept car turned production car. BMW released the stunning concept in 2009 at the height of the recession. Now, some five years later, I’m sitting on the side of an empty road with the i8’s scissor doors open and admiring the desolate beauty outside Las Vegas. All I can hear is a slight whine from the hybrid electric powerplant ready to be abused.

Nestled somewhere within the i8’s frame is an electric motor and tiny 3 cylinder, 1.5L turbocharged engine. They work in tandem to power the i8. The results will make treehuggers and gearheads equally happy.

When driven in hybrid mode, the i8 is quick and plentiful. It can go about 15 miles on effectively just electric power. When the gear shift lever is kicked over to sport mode, the i8 becomes exhilarating.

In either mode it’s quick off the line and at speed. Stomp the right pedal to the floor and the i8 flies to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. Even more impressive, though, is when passing is required. As I understand it, the powertrain uses the electric motor to give the moving car an instant boost and then seconds later the 3 cylinder engine takes over. The car leaps forward with supercar might and plants occupants into the seats.

The car simply thunders when driven in sport mode and hugs the roads like a modern supercar should. BMW piped some of the engine noise back into the cabin through the audio system. Sure, that might be cheating a bit, but the notes are genuine and raw. I found the sound to be the most surprising thing about the i8. I simply wasn’t expecting the hybrid to sound so mean.

Read more: Tech Crunch

On the road: BMW i8 (Image: The Guardian)

2014 Tech Car of the Year: i8 – A carbon fiber hyper hybrid

We narrowed the field down to five nominees for the 2014 Tech Car of the Year award at the beginning of December, and now CNET’s judges have weighed in on our final choices. There were some strong contenders, making a unanimous choice difficult, but there can only be one…

Winner: BMW i8

This car represents a marvel of innovative engineering. Carbon fiber in its construction not only keeps the weight down, but cheaper production of this material could make it a standard for cars of the future. BMW took a risk with the design, putting something on the road that looks like it should still bear a concept label. LED headlights make for another important touch, along with a head-up display and driver assistance features. Judge Tim Stevens noted that “it’s undoubtedly one of the most interesting new cars on the road.”

With an electric motor driving the front wheels and a compact gasoline engine at the rear, the i8 combines all-wheel drive with plug-in hybrid fuel efficiency. However, in the same car you can experience a thrilling driving experience, eating up corners with this nimble ultimate driving machine. Judge Wayne Cunningham notes that the i8 “is an extraordinary technical achievement.”

Finally, BMW’s iDrive cabin electronics system sneaks in an impressive roster of connected features. The car comes with its own data connection powering online destination search and built-in apps. iDrive gets expanded features through the ConnectedDrive app on a driver’s smartphone, bringing in everything from social media to online music.

The Audi A3 came in as our favorite runner-up, embodying near-perfect connected cabin tech, but its drivetrain didn’t represent a significant advance. Also up for serious consideration was the Infiniti Q50S Hybrid, an amazing technical achievement with its drive-by-wire steering and efficient gasoline-electric drivetrain. Fan favorite the Tesla Model S made the nominees list for its impressive drivetrain, but when we reviewed the 2014 P85 Plus model earlier this year we didn’t find much advancement in its cabin electronics, and it still lacked any driver assistance features. Tesla’s recent update of the Model S addresses some of those issues, so we will likely be reconsidering it for next year. The Ford Fusion Energi made our nominee list for its excellent driver assistance features and economical plug-in hybrid drivetrain, but its cabin tech couldn’t carry it over the top.

Read more: CNET

BMW i8 (Image: PistonHeads)

BMW i8 vs The Real World

Looks like the sports car of the future but does it actually drive like one? Take two in the BMW i8

The ‘real world’ offering in the rarified league of carbon fibre petrol-electric sports cars, the BMW i8 is no P1, LaFerrari or 918 Spyder in performance terms. Not that anyone who sees it seems to care. Indeed, while all of the above could slip by innocent bystanders as ‘just’ normal supercars the i8 has star quality in spades and is so obviously something new and different even non-car folk seem genuinely awe-struck.

Star quality that extends to whomever happens to be at the wheel too – pull up kerbside and by the time you open that carbon butterfly door you’ll have a small crowd and camera phone paparazzi waiting to hang on your every word about the driving experience. Crave the quiet life? Not the car for you…

That £99K starting price is interesting too, pitching the i8 directly into the line of sight of the serial 911 buyer who, just might, be looking for something a bit different or eying up electric friendly grants and congestion charging for driving to that City office block. Tempting as the F-Types, R8s, Merc-AMG GTs and similar alternatives at this price might be they all look a little dinosaur-like in the company of the i8, which achieves that rare thing of being incredibly expensive, exotic, unashamedly performance focused and yet totally socially acceptable too.

The IT crowd

Harris drove the i8 in the sympathetic surroundings of California and Matt had a go up in the wilds of Scotland but for this test we used the i8 in more everyday surroundings, hacking the daily commute and heading up the M1 for a meeting in the way anyone might use a ‘normal’ sports car like a 911. Electrically plumbed parking spaces at the office meant a chance to charge the battery for maximum EV goodness but the rest of the time it was just a case of jumping in and using it like any other test car.

First thought? Getting anywhere near that official 134.5mpg is going to require your very lightest loafers, the best the PH clogs could achieve being less than half that on a mixed commute of stop-start motorway traffic and a bit of urban crawl. OK, so it was winter and we’re soft enough to want heated seats on in addition to the rather more compulsory lights, wipers and similar. Still impressive for a 362hp sports car, not so much for a supposed eco champion even driven in a style intended to maximise regenerative charging opportunities and minimise intervention from the 1.5-litre petrol engine.

An inbound journey with barely any battery saw 45mpg; the return fully charged had the trip showing 99mpg running on mainly electric for the first five miles of urban driving before dropping to a less impressive mid 50s once on dual carriageways and motorway. Dig deeper into the i8 literature and these are actually more representative of BMW’s official expectations. Funnily enough that triple-digit combined figure has rather drowned that out though. There are tricks to be learned – following a tip from the delivery driver we enjoyed the fact Sport mode that keeps the petrol engine engaged also does an excellent job of charging the battery. A rather more sophisticated answer can be found by programming your route into the nav, whereupon the computers analyse the profile and calculates where to use petrol power, where to switch to electric and where the best re-gen opportunities may lie. Clever stuff.

Read more: Piston Heads