BMW's Brand New i3 Is An Affordable Electric Car That's Fun To Drive

bmw i3 electric carThe all-electric BMW i3 was officially revealed Monday.

In a three-continent event today, BMW officially unveiled the all-electric i3.

Shown off in New York, London, and Beijing, the four-seat compact car marks the start of what the German automaker calls a “new era for individual mobility.”

The $41,350 price tag (before a $7,500 federal tax credit) puts the i3 in between the Tesla Model S (starts at $69,900) and offerings like the Chevy Spark EV ($26,685).

That could open up the electric car market to drivers who want to drive a high-end car built by a luxury powerhouse, but hesitate to spend $70,000.

That move into a new niche has generated a lot of interest: BMW says it has already received 90,000 requests for test drives.

Wary of the reputation of compact electric cars as glorified go-karts, BMW promises “sheer driving pleasure” in the i3.

Range will max out at around 186 miles, but if the i3 is as fun to drive as BMW says — and there’s no reason to doubt this company’s ability to build fun cars — it could be a new kind of EV.

Fun, fast, practical, and pretty close to affordable.

It's hardly a gorgeous car, especially compared to Tesla's Model S, but it has a lot to offer

An aluminium chassis and lots of carbon fibre keep the i3's weight down to about 2,700 pounds.

Excellent torque — a major benefit of electric cars — will send the i3 from 0 to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds.

More relevant for city driving is the 0 to 30 mph spring, which the i3 does in 3.5 seconds.

The i3 comes with an above-average range of 80 to 100 miles. An optional range extender (a small gasoline engine that increases battery power) brings that up to 160 miles.

A fast charger can fill the battery to 80% in just 20 minutes, or all the way in 30.

Coach doors and a completely flat floor make getting in and out easy.

BMW says it offers the same amount of interior space as a 3 Series sedan.

- Trims: Worlds = Mega, Giga, Tera

Whatever you choose, a leather-wrapped steering wheel comes standard. This is BMW, after all.

Want more electric rides?

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.