BMW unveils i3 electric car

Published July 29, 2013


BMW has big news for drivers in megacities.

The automaker is showing off the production model of its new i3 electric compact that uses carbon-fiber materials to keep the weight down and improve driving performance.

CEO Norbert Reithofer stressed at a New York unveiling that the car was designed as an electric from the ground up. The i3 is "born electric," he said.

The company says the i3, built in Leipzig, Germany, will go from zero to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds. Its range is billed as 80-100 miles per charge. Models fitted with an optional two-cylinder range extending gas engine and 2.4-liter fuel tank can go up to 180 miles.

Standard models feature a lithium-ion battery pack powering a rear-mounted electric motor and seating for four, the back seats made more accessible through the use of rear-opening coach doors.

BMW promises that a near 50/50 weight distribution will help deliver dynamic performance worthy of the company's Ultimate Driving Machine slogan.

The i3 goes on sale in November in the U.S. next year for $42,275.

The Associated Press contributed to this report