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Europe: Ten Things We Learned About the BMW i3 and i8

Frankfurt, Germany: BMW gave journalists from all over the world our first real look at the company’s electric and plug-in hybrid concepts, the i3 and i8. The cars are the result of Project i, a sub-brand within BMW that was conceived in 2007 to help tackle future transportation problems. In addition to learning about the cars themselves, BMW also divulged more about Project i. Here are ten things we learned about Project i and BMW electric cars.

1. The i3 and i8 make extensive use of lightweight carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) to help offset the weight of their batteries. BMW claims that an electric-drive system — batteries, motors, electronics — weighs about 440 pounds more than a comparable gasoline drivetrain. CFRP construction reportedly trimmed between 550 and 770 pounds from the i3 and i8, more than offsetting the weight of batteries.

2. The i3 hatchback and i8 sports coupe are only the beginning of BMW’s i-branded cars. Executives repeatedly pointed out that, “between 3 and 8, there’s a lot of space.” Translation: expect electric or hybrid cars badged i4, i5, i6, or i7 to debut at a later date.
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