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A Drive Around Los Angeles in the BMW i3

Depending on who you are, looking at the BMW i3 electric car will make you either love it or hate it. Its peculiar proportions and appearance, as with other odd-shape cars, seem to be polarizing. Something about it recalls the basic look of a Honda Element, but it is uniquely BMW and its fuel economy is much more impressive.
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Benjamin Preston

In designing the i3, BMW started from scratch, creating an all-new carbon-fiber body on an aluminum-frame chassis, custom-tailored for the electric city car.
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Benjamin Preston

But whether you love or hate its looks, it’s difficult not to enjoy driving the i3. A tall, boxy, snub-nose body; tall, narrow tires; and a short wheelbase do not seem to be good ingredients for an ultimate driving machine, but all that custom electric-only-vehicle engineering seems to have paid off in the final product.

First off, it’s a good idea to point out how — other than it is all electric — the i3 is different from most cars on the road. Unlike the majority of the vehicles in the urban and suburban commuters’ fleet, the i3 features body-on-frame construction. An aluminum frame carries the electric motor, batteries and suspension components, and a bubblelike carbon-fiber body shell bolts on top. The result is a car that is light and small, but has a lot of interior room and a low center of gravity.

Oliver Walter, head of product management for the i3, said that BMW wanted to make a car that was short to make city driving easier, but also roomy inside for greater comfort and utility.
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