BMW Spends Big On i3 And i8 For Frankfurt Show; Indoor Infinity Track To Showcase i Brand

SEP 1 2013 BY JAY COLE 11

Think BMW is not serious about plug-in cars?  The German company is spending more money showing off the 2014 i3 and debuting the 2015 i8 at the 2013 IAA (think Frankfurt Auto Show), that many companies spend on the EV advertising budget in a year.

As well displaying their traditional BMW-wares in a big way – the company says over 60 vehicles will be in attendance, the company has reserved 8,750 square meters in total to put the i3 and i8 on display.

BMW i3 WIll Be Doing Infinite Laps Of The Track In Frankfurt

BMW i3 WIll Be Doing Infinite Laps Of The Track In Frankfurt

And by display we mean on a indoor “infinity” track, where consumers can catch BMW’s i brand it action from September 12th to the 22nd (public days start on Saturday, Sept. 14th).

Although InsideEVs will be at the show, BMW has released some technical floor plan drawings of their huge booth ahead of the show for us to have a look at, as well as the adjacent lounge for consumers to peruse their offerings.

Beside a chance for Europeans to catch the i3 in person for the first time, it will also be the entire world’s first opportunity to see the high performance i8 plug-in supercar without its now all-to-familiar blue and white camouflage.

We Are Impatient To See The BMW i8 In Production-Intent Trim

We Are Impatient To See The BMW i8 In Production-Intent Trim

BMW says of the track:

The BMW stand is characterised by the new track in the form of an infinity symbol symbolising the sustainable mobility concept of BMW. Visitors walk along the long straight stretch of the track, on a platform six metres above the ground, and experience the new world premiere up close – with particular focus on the new electric vehicles from BMW I.


If In Frankfurt, Why Not Check Out The i3 (the show also promises to have delightful Apfelstrudel)

If In Frankfurt, Why Not Check Out The i3 (the show also promises to have delightful Apfelstrudel)

While the i8 will be on display, the i3 will be in constant motion for attendees to watch in person:

Infinite driving pleasure is consistently noticeable at the BMW stand at the IAA. The BMW i3 is presented in permanent action on the 280-metre long track in the shape of an infinity sign that splits the BMW stand into three levels. Electromobility topics are demonstrated live during pit stops on the stages.

The booth’s tribune can reportedly hold upwards of 400 people at a time to watch the i3 in action, as well as to see round the clock informative show formats.  BMW says the booth will be staffed with “Product Geniuses” that will have a good working knowledge of the BMW i3 “and all its configuration and equipment options…All questions about electromobility will be answered competently in direct dialogue.”

Hrm, I Feel Like Some "Culinary Delights" While I  Reminisce About BMW.  If Only There Was Some Place To Go...

Hrm, I Feel Like Some “Culinary Delights” While I Reminisce About BMW. If Only There Was Some Place To Go…

For the more well-heeled the BMW lounge is also available:

“If you’d like to end your visit to the 65th IAA with a spectacular view from the wide panorama windows of the BMW stand, you’re cordially invited to join us in our exclusive BMW Group Lounge. A magnificent catering selection is on offer for owners of the Experience Package II. Enjoy the culinary delights while you reminisce about all that you’ve seen and heard. Make your time at the IAA 2013 an unforgettable experience. There’s a fascinating view of the BMW stand to look forward to.”

The 2014 BMW i3 is coming the US in the second quarter of 2013, and is offered starting from $41,350 for the all-electric version (90ish miles EPA range), and with a range extender from $45,200 (which adds up to 87 miles more).

2015 i8 production has reportedly been moved forward a bit and is expected before the fall of 2014…the i8 has an expected priced of just under a zillion dollars … alright not quite a zillion – estimates have the car going between $125,000 to $150,000 in the US; but if you have to ask, you probably won’t be getting one.

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11 Comments on "BMW Spends Big On i3 And i8 For Frankfurt Show; Indoor Infinity Track To Showcase i Brand"

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How will BMW compete with 20 min. “FREE” fast supercharging Tesla offers? If the answer is a free Gas powered loaner for long trips, that goes against why most people buy an EV. Most EV buyers want 100% gas free driving 100% of the time; otherwise they’d buy a Volt.


I’m not really sure the two cars compete. Obviously the gas range extender is the natural answer, but as you say that goes against the code of those buyers wanting to go all electric…not 100% sure how large that portion of the segment that is (that only buys a BEV) – no more than 50% as that is just about the BEV/PHEV sales split….maybe 10%? IDK The all-electric i3 at around 90ish miles really can’t compete at all with the Model S, but on the other hand the Model S now starts at $70,000+, while the i3 starts at $41,000. But EVs not named Tesla aren’t bought for cash, they are leased in a unbelievably high percentage. The MSRP and the way the $7,500 federal credit was envisioned to aid vehicles starting at around $40,000 and lower (think Chevy Volt), the BMW will probably be able to be had on lease for about $400 with $3K down (ish), making it in the range (if they choose) of 85% of the new car buying public. Tesla, without the aid of a ‘financing wing’ and having the federal credit being marginalized because of the huge portion still to be financed (cost of… Read more »

I say the BMW i3 competes with Tesla S. They will be competing for my business.

An 80 mile EV is a toy. Every few weeks I have a 150+ mile day and nowhere near any future planned site on Tesla’s Supercharger map so not much chance of anyone else providing satisfactory public charging.

An 85 kWh Tesla would provide more margin for heating and air conditioning (which is life support here, not a luxury). The range extender engine would enhance the i3 from toy status to a possible solution. However I wish BMW had made the range extender into a module which could be installed or removed as needed. That would make it an easy after-sale add-on option. It would be easier to service and mothball if not needed for many months. Some 3rd party might design an extended range battery to fit in that space. Or even use as a Tesla S-like quick change battery.

87 miles on 2.4 gallons is a not-impressive 36 MPG. Then again one would be surprised if a series hybrid engine driving battery driving motor was as efficient as a Prius with both mechanical and electrical paths from engine to wheels.

I would not take the 87 miles literally. We could see 100 miles too, it’s premature to say. Let’s wait for the EPA ratings.

It is specious to think for EV drivers. The volt solves much of the choice to decrease oil and gas usage while offering a one car solution. The next step is to supersize it. Ihave a volt and want to get a CUV sized Voltec model. Lets hope they make them as large as the Traverse and Suburban. Problem is, large vehicles like that may get low mpg but get high people-miles per gallon when they are filled with hockey teams or large families.

The real oil and gas users are pick up trucks. Give us BEV or EREV pickup trucks at family oriented prices. Would sell very well if priced right. Huge market.

Great point!

And don’t forget the fast DC charging option on the BMW i3 which will charge the car in approximately 30 minutes. This option should be less than half the price of the supercharger option ($2500) in the Tesla S. Granted the range of the city car focused i3 is half that of a 60 kwh Tesla Model S and an undetermined number of the fast DC SAE combo plugs will be available at launch. However if the BMW dealer network installs the fast DC chargers in the dealers that sell the i3 the fast DC charging should ramp up quickly especially in California where NRG will be installing an additional 200 fast DC chargers, some with SAE combo plugs. As you say different cars different price points, but DC fast charging will be available on the BMW i3, The tech, safety and luxury level of the i3 will be amazing and on par or superior to the Model S. Remember the safest car is the one with the technology that helps you avoid an accident as well as protects you in an accident. “A variety of innovative driver assistant systems in the BMW i3 not only makes driving a pleasure… Read more »

Oh yes. The Franken plug. As we all know, BMW is putting up dozens of Franken plug chargers on major freeways spaced so that i3 can move between large cities by charging at these stations, right ?

No ? Then, don’t even mention the Frankenplug.

This is bit of an extremist attitude, don’t you think. While the CCS sites won’t exceed the installed CHAdeMO base anytime soon, there could be some locations, on the West Coast for example, where a driver with the SAE combo plug could get some utility out of this. While talking about major automakers, it’s good to see that Nissan is getting more involved in the infrastructure game. The same thing could happen with BMW. While I agree that fast charging should not be oversold, especially in location that many not see a fast charger anytime soon, I wouldn’t be as combative about it as you seem to be. I don’t agree with the term “Frankenplug” at all. It was coined out of spite, and really does not reflect well on the EV community. Ideally, we would not have these competing standards. It’s silly. Calling it names won’t help change anything though.

the tesla S and the renault ZOE not sold in the states are better than the BMW i3

I think the ZOE is a great car, and if I lived in Europe, I would likely own it. That said, I don’t think that it’s nearly as quick off the line like the i3 is going to be. I also like the futuristic interior and some of the advanced features in the cockpit (and out).