BMW engineer Patrick Meuller reveals the power unit of the i3 – and the space alongside it that could be crucial to the car’s success with fleet drivers.
The space is reserved for the 650cc motorcycle engine that is expected to be the optional extra ordered by one third of UK customers choosing the radical eco model.
In standard form, the 125kW electric motor develops 184lb-ft torque, sufficient to give the lightweight hatchback a top speed of 93mph and a range of up to 100 miles.
But when battery power runs low, the twin-cylinder petrol Motorrad unit cuts in to generate sufficient charge to almost double the car’s range.
"We have developed the i3 as a zero emissions car to operate purely on electric power," said Meuller. "All the tests we’ve done indicate that the range will suit most customers, but we know some will want the assurance of knowing the car can be driven for longer distances.
“However, we are confident that fears about the range of the i3 will soon disappear when people start using the car.”