If you are looking for a head turning serial electric hybrid, Doug DeMuro, says, “Yes!” The BMW i8 is not only a futuristic looking way to reduce your dependence on oil, but also a lot of fun to drive. Doug mentions how well the hybrid handles at speed, and it has a lot of pop, sporting a 0-60 in around 4 seconds. Another interesting thing about the video is how BMW simulates the sound of a V8 engine into the cabin when you punch the “gas”.
In the past 5 years we’ve seen an increase in electric car manufacturing. Many international developers strongly believe that the future of the auto industry will depend on eco-friendly vehicles. Going green is no longer a luxury, and believe it or not, recent models of electric cars are no longer over-priced. In fact, some have pretty amazing built-ins and in-car technicals to surpass the efficiency and performance of conventional vehicles that run on gas. This year, the industry has spiked in eco-friendly cars; starting from the simplest all the way to the most groundbreaking. Here’s a quick guide with 5 “green” cars that will most like win you over.
Toyota Prius, it’s time for you to move over! IONIQ is here to take your spot. Even though it’s too early to tell whether or not Hyundai’s IONIQ model will be better than the Prius, rumor has it that it will be a fair competitor. The hybrid auto market is on the roll, and as new technologies emerge, it’s tough for manufacturers to stay on top. Hyundai has always been an ambitious car maker, and even though we can’t know for sure how advanced and powerful IONIQ will be, we can state that the plug-in hybrid will create some sort of hype. Rumor has it that the new model will deliver an incredible driving experience; apparently, some of the built-in features will provide a driving experience no other eco vehicle is currently offering.
Nissan’s Leaf model is the most popular type of electric car in the world. Nearly 200,000 models have been sold since the release. The manufacturers are still making upgrades, and this year’s variant looks and feels better than ever. The latest Leaf comes with a 30 kWh battery, which is enough to drive for 155 miles. Why are casual driver so in love with this electric vehicle? First, because it is affordable – $18,000 on average – on average, and second because it looks nice both on the inside and on the outside. Nissan Leaf is comfortable, relaxing to drive and quiet. It is an electric pioneer that drivers are quite fond of!
Tesla Model X
There’s something about Tesla that keeps us interested. The company’s recent Model X is quite the beauty. It can easily get to 60 mph in roughly 3.2 seconds, not to mention that it looks pretty awesome too. Some say that Tesla’s Model X will be the best electric car of the year. It features enough room to fit up to 7 individuals, and it completely redefined in-car design. Sleek, modern and high-tech on the inside, Model X has certainly piqued our interest. The manufacturers argue that it is also the fastest electric car in the world, as well as the most capable utility vehicles created thus far. Safety is Model X’s biggest trump card. Considering it packs floor-mounted battery meant to lower its gravity center, the risk of rolling is extremely low.
Chevy Bolt may not benefit from Tesla’s technology, but it’s still an electric vehicle with great potential. In fact, rumor has it that the most is the most anticipated of the year. The model will be hitting the market pretty soon, and many buyers are excited to test it out especially because it comes at an affordable cost – on average, $30,000. The fully electric hatchback offers seating for 5 people, thus making it ideal for small families. The engine can handle a mileage of 200, and the quick charging (30 minutes for 90 miles) will surely appeal to potential customers.
BMW’s i3 model is a remarkable electric hatchback. Featuring a rather unusual exterior built, we cannot help but wonder who thought of the design. The structure is made of carbon fiber, and as for the electric powertrain, the i3 packs legendary driving dynamics. Due to a low gravity center, the cars can easily go from 0 to 60mph in roughly 6.5 seconds. In terms of charging, this urban beauty doesn’t take longer than 3 hours to reach its full potential.
Numerous other electric cars are preparing to enter the market. Some see promising, whereas others are just pure science fiction. We still hope for Porsche’s Mission E to emerge so that Tesla can have some real competition.
By Christopher Austin and Design911.co.uk!
BMW have built some fantastic vehicles in the past, and it looks like a trend that’s set to continue well into the future. The German firm is taking an active interest in alternative fuel technologies. One of the most notable examples of hybrid technology is the BMW i8.
If you’ve not heard of that model before, let me tell you more about it. It’s a hybrid sports car that’s powered by electric motors and a small three-cylinder engine. Of course, the only downside is that it’s one of the world’s most expensive sports cars!
Still, if money is no object and you’d like to drive a stylish, high-performance and eco-friendly car, the BMW i8 is for you!
It looks futuristic – in a good way
I don’t know about you but have you ever noticed just how weird today’s hybrid cars look? Car manufacturers associate hybrid vehicles as ones that should look futuristic. I get that car makers want to think outside the box when it comes to styling.
But some cars are just too out there. Toyota Prius, I’m looking at you!
The fantastic thing about the BMW i8 is that it too seems futuristic – but in a GOOD way! The contours of the vehicle match the front and rear ends well. It doesn’t look like a car Homer Simpson would have designed!
It uses lots of carbon fibre
We all know that car batteries weigh a lot. The heaviest are the ones that get used for electric and hybrid vehicles.
That’s not a good thing when you’re trying to design a fast hybrid sports car! To overcome this problem, BMW have used lots of carbon fibre. It’s 50% lighter than steel and 30% lighter than aluminium. But it’s just as strong as both metals.
The door architecture is amazing
When you open the doors on the BMW i8, one thing you will notice is that it uses “dihedral doors.” Or, as the guys at Thames Motor Group put it, gullwing doors! They are the kind of doors you might see on cars like Lamborghinis and even the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
They swing upwards when opened. You might think that it’s not possible to do that, given how heavy car doors are. But BMW claim that the doors are 50% lighter than conventional ones.
It’s a good performance sports car
The car boasts 0-60 mph speeds of just 4.3 seconds. And the eDrive system boasts a total power output of 231 brake horsepower. It doesn’t sound like much, given that cars like the BMW M4 have more power.
But you need to bear in mind this car is lightweight. The power to weight ratio is different in the BMW i8.
BMW is finally entering the electric vehicle market with their i series after clinging to absolute confidence in clean diesel technology for years. The most promising prospect of the their concept stable is probably the BMW i3 Concept Coupe: a highway capable, two-door hatchback with a subtle futuristic style and hints of the traditional BMW heritage. The Coupe appears much closer to production design than the “Megacity Vehicle” i3 and the supercar BMW i8 seen below:
The i3 Coupe is a happy medium between the outrageously designed super hybrid i8 that is predicted to accelerate from 0-60 in less than 5 seconds, and the neighborhood electric vehicle i3, according to the specs.
The BMW i3 Coupe can drive 80 to 100 miles before requiring charging. Through optional DC fast charging, the battery can be replenished to 80% charge within less than 30 minutes. The coupe will also feature ConnectDrive, which includes a navigational panel that indicates most efficient routes, the locations of charging stations, and a remote app for your smartphone. The i3 Coupe sports a hefty 170 hp engine, which is a lot for its lightweight frame and instant max torque at the rear wheels. So it looks like BMW will maintain some of its sporting heritage with this coupe, even if it does look a lot like BMW inspired Leaf. BMW anticipates the price to be at least $40,000 before tax credits. It will be a gamble to see if BMW fans and electric car lovers will embrace a BMW at that price without the finely tuned machismo growl
I had the pleasure of attending the EV Press Conference on the second press day of the 2010 New York Auto Show. The event was right after Mitsubishi’s press conference, filled with loud indie rock, light shows, and the big reveal of their new crossover. The EV press event was much more low key, and really a sequence of rapid fire, five minute speeches from five EV companies. Amp Electric Vehicles, Mini, Mitsubishi, Think, and PEP Stations all gave a quick rundown of their vehicles, goals, and innovations.
First up was Steve Burns, CEO of Amp Electric Vehicles. Amp does high quality conversions of domestic ICE vehicles to 100% electric drive. The Midwestern team is currently converting the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox as well as 2007-2009 Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice convertibles. They brought a converted Sky and Equinox, which were definitely the sexiest looking electric cars driving around at the show.
Anyways, Steve Burns focused on the Equinox, a SUV that truly shows that electric vehicles are just as capable as their internal combustion predecessors. The Amp Equinox crossover has a 150 mile range, 90 mile per hour top speed, and a 0-60 mph acceleration of 8 seconds. Burns attributed this exceptional performance to the Remy electric motor. Remy has made over a billion motors of all sorts around the world, and they are bringing their legacy to the electric drivetrain. It is exciting to see established internal combustion companies adapt and apply their expertise to electric drive applications. The Amp presenters suspiciously omitted the price of their Equinox, so I’ll include it here: $50,000, more than twice the price of a 2010 Chevy Equinox.
Next up, a BMW spokesman gave a short presentation for the Mini E. He briefed us on the specs for the highway capable EV with a 100 mile range, and “go kart-like handling.” The Mini E is already being leased to select drivers, and he announced they have extended the lease for another year, with over 50% of the leasers renewing. More interestingly, he noted BMW’s Project i. Which will catalyze more applications of electric drive trains in BMW vehicles, like the 1 Series coupe. They already revealed the BMW ActiveE concept at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. The ActiveE will pack a 170 horsepower electric motor in a 1 Series, to give it similar specs to the Mini E, but lets hope they give us some trunk space.
Product Planning Manager, Brian Arnett gave us the rundown on their plans for the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Sounds like they are pretty far along already in the east, with 1,400 cars sold to Japanese fleets. The 80 mile range highway capable EV will retail in Japan this month. Mitsubishi hopes to introduce the the i-MiEV to the US in Fall 2011. They are already creating partnerships with companies in the US, like Best Buy (Geek Squad cars), and California Electric (for EV infrastructure).
John Harmon represented Think North America next. The company plans to begin manufacturing the THINK City in Elkhart, Ind. beginning in early 2011. The Think City will have a range of 100 miles, and a top speed of 70 mph. The two seater also has a large cargo area in its recently redesigned rear.
Finally, Brady Blaine, Vice President of Pep Stations, elaborated on their goal to supply America with an electric vehicle charging infrastructure. This is obviously easier said than done, but the premise is simple. PEP (Plug-in Electric Power) has designed a simple charging station they hope to sell to malls, rest centers, gyms, and everywhere else people park their cars. Patrons can park their electric cars, charge up in 1 to 5 hours, and drive away with a full battery.
In summary, the EV press conference characterized how the electric vehicle industry is slowly making its way to the mainstream. Cars like the i-MiEV, Think City, and Nissan Leaf are practically designed, have ample cargo space, and have more than enough range for 90% of Americans. These cars will be on our roads, in our showrooms, and charging in our garages within the next year. The concept cars of two years ago are finally becoming a reality, and I was thankful to see and drive them at the 2010 New York Auto Show.
Usually, at auto shows you will find abstract concepts of electric cars that are so far fetched, nobody takes them seriously. This year at the New York Auto Show, companies like Mitsubishi, Mini, Think, and Amp Motorworks are changing the regular programming by providing press and public test drives of highway capable electric vehicles. In the 2010 auto show, electric cars like the Mini E and the i-MiEV are already on the road, leased to select test markets and certain fleet and government patrons.
The electric vehicle test drive track is in the EV Pavilion at the back of the bottom floor, but it will surely be a crowd pleaser when the auto show opens up to the public April 2-11. When I arrived, only 2 electric vehicles, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and the Mini E, were circling the winding track. I had to “sign my life away” on some contract that relieved them of any responsibility for any bodily harm I might inflict on myself while I played Dukes of Hazard with the EVs. They also made me swear not to go take it over 15 mph. It was an indoor go kart track, after all. Then I was ready to drive some electric powered machines.
First up was the Mini E. This mighty mouse has a good amount of power, 200 HP, and that is with a 100% torque electric motor, so it really picks up. With an electronically regulated top speed of 95 mph, and a 150 mile range (told 100 by the spokeswoman, oddly, perhaps realistically), this car can get you anywhere you need to go, fast.
Here is what I didn’t like. I sat in the driver’s seat, looked back, and saw this:
This is about neck high, right behind the drivers seat. It is the battery pack. Not only is this a two-seater, but it is a two-seater with the storage space of a Vespa. I contemplated the Mini E’s practicality watching press groups load up the 5-passenger i MiEV.
Moment of truth.
I took the car out of park, following the instructions of the Mini spokeswoman in the passenger seat. No lurch. The car does not lurch forward in drive like your typical ICE vehicle. Once you get moving, drives much like a car in first gear all the time, meaning it is very torque-ee. You accelerate, let off the gas (electricity) and you rapidly decelerate because of the strong regenerative braking. I had heard about this being an issue with the Mini E, so it was pretty much what I expected. It makes me wonder if the big sacrifice in momentum is worth the electricity regained.
Anyway the car accelerated great on the miniature straightaway. I would love to see what the Mini E could do on an interstate on-ramp instead of an indoor track.
Honestly, I am still uncomfortable pronouncing this one aloud (i Meeve or i Me-ehv).
But I am picking this one as the winner in this EV battle. Here’s why:
Yes, this is a fully equipped, four door family EV. The cabin was so spacious, I could not believe they fit a lithium ion battery in there, which is hidden flat under the car.
This will not compete with the Mini E on the track though. It will get you 0-60 in 13 seconds, has a top speed of 80 mph, and has a 100 mile range. But I could not even fit my backpack into the Mini E with another person in the car. I could get married, have a couple kids, and take them all to soccer practice in the i-MiEV. The i-MiEV makes such good use of the space it has, and is just smartly designed for what it is, a family commuter vehicle.
Not only is the i MiEV more spacious, but it rides more comfortably too. The car creeps forward in drive like a traditional vehicle, and the regenerative braking is much more natural. The car kind of coasts when you lift off of the accelerator. The interior space and user friendly drive make the i-MiEV the winner in this EV showdown.
Anyone who happens to be in the area of New York City the next few days should definitely come to the Javits Center to get a first hand experience in these fascinating new electric vehicles that are becoming more and more real every day. I’ll leave you with a rough video I took of some of the action on the track later in the day: