The BMW i3 is a five-door urban electric car developed by the German manufacturer BMW. The i3 is part of BMW's "Project i" and was launched as a new brand, BMW i. The i3 is BMW's first zero emissions mass-produced vehicle due to its electric powertrain, and BMW is the first company to launch a volume production vehicle on the market featuring carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer to improve the vehicle's energy consumption. Until November 2016, the BMW i3 was the most fuel efficient EPA-certified vehicle of all years regardless of fuel type, while the i3 REx continues to rank as the most efficient EPA-certified current year vehicle with a gasoline engine in terms of its combined gasoline/electricity rating.
The BMW i3's official range is 130 to 160km (80 to 100mi) for the 60 Ah battery option under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), and up to 200km (120mi) in the most efficient driving mode. Under the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cycle the official range is 130km (81mi) with combined fuel economy of 124 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent —MPGe— (1.90L/100km; 149mpgimp). BMW is offering a range extender (“REx”) option powered by a 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine with a small fuel tank that engages when the battery level drops to a pre-specified point, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to 240km (150mi) for the model with the 60 Ah battery under the EPA test cycle.
In July 2016, BMW released the 2017 model year (MY) BMW i3 94 Ah with an improved 33 kWh battery pack with 50% more capacity than the previous model resulting in an increase of its range to 183km (114mi) under the EPA cycle, and 300km (190mi) under the NEDC test. The Range Extender (REx) variant also features the same higher capacity battery as the all-electric model, with a corresponding all-electric range increase to 156km (97mi) under EPA testing cycle, for a total range of 290km (180mi).
The i3 concept car was unveiled at the 2011 International Motor Show Germany. and the production version was unveiled in July 2013. Mass production of the i3 began in September 2013 and retail deliveries started in Europe in November 2013. Deliveries in the U.S. began in May 2014. Pricing in the United States starts at US$42,275 before any government incentives, and the range extender option costs an additional US$3,850. Prices in Germany start from €34,950 (US$46,400). Pricing in the UK starts at GB£30,680 (US$47,195) before the applicable government grant.
The i3 ranked third among all-electric cars sold worldwide for three years running, from 2014 to 2016. Global i3 sales passed the 50,000 unit milestone in July 2016. Three years after its introduction, the i3 is the top selling BMW electrified model, representing 60% of combined BMW i and BMW iPerformance models. As of December 2016, the i3 ranked as the world's third best selling all-electric car in history with more than 65,000 units sold since its inception.
Among other awards and recognition, the BMW i3 won two World Car of the Year Awards selected as 2014 World Green Car of the Year and also as 2014 World Car Design of the Year. The i3 was also given an iF Product Design Gold Award, and, in the first UK Car of the Year Awards, it won in two categories: UK Car of the Year 2014 and Best Supermini of 2014.