BMW i8: plug-in hybrid supercar
- July 10, 2015
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Plug-in hybrids like the BMW i8 are coming. Influential industry figures think they are the only way the motor industry will meet the EU’s proposal of a corporate average of 95g/km CO² emissions by 2020.
Its precursor was the 2009 Vision Efficient Dynamics concept, for which BMW had no production intention. The company’s eco “i Project” was all about the i3 electric supermini, but the orgiastic reception for this futuristically transluscent two-plus-two forced the mastodons of Munich to reconsider.
The body shape was retained, including the most audacious automotive flying buttresses since the Jaguar XJ-S, although the production i8 is a little bit shorter, with cleaned up aerodynamics, working air intakes and legal sill sections, but it’s visibly the same car. The concept’s diesel engine has been dropped, however.
“It was never going to have a diesel,” says Carsten Breitfeld, the i Project head. “That would not be suitable for a sports car and the i8 is also going to be sold in world markets and not all countries buy diesel cars.”
Top of that list is China, where BMW is under fire for its less-than-stellar environmental record and also for a massive recall on the 5-series steering systems. BMW needs some good news there and the petrol/electric i8 can also limbo dance under the Chinese registration plate rules, under which new plates are issued by lottery.
In America, wealthy silicon valley types will be queuing up to trade their Prius or Tesla for the latest sexy green machine, so you can see why this BMW has such a head of internet steam behind it.
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