Examining BMW i3 From Underneath

DEC 22 2014 BY STAFF 6

BMW i3 Hoisted Up

BMW i3 Hoisted Up

BMWBLOG put our BMW i3 BEV up on a lift and removed its wheels to get a closer look. The i3 was designed from the outset to be an ultra efficient, lightweight electric vehicle, so things look quite different underneath. The i3 has 5.5 inch ground clearance so getting the lift’s arms correctly position was a cinch, compared to BMWBLOG’s lowered E92 M3.

BMW i3 Underbody

BMW i3 Underbody

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG. Check it out, along with additional images of the undercarriage of the i3, by clicking here.

Once up in the air, the i3’s narrow wheels were taken off. The most striking thing I noticed right away, was just how much of the underbody is battery. The i3’s 22kWh battery weighs 450 lbs and is protected by an aluminum housing to keep the lithium-ion batteries safe from road debris. BMW placed the battery in that spot to keep the center of gravity fairly low.

BMW i3 Underbody

BMW i3 Underbody

BMW i3 Underbody

BMW i3 Underbody

Categories: BMW


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6 Comments on "Examining BMW i3 From Underneath"

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Flat underbodies help aerodynamics. Why the hell didn’t BMW take one additional small step and cover the rear motor/reduction gear/transfer case? Then again, this car ain’t the pinnacle of aerodynamics either.

It would be nice to know the Cd of the i3. But I think it may be better than it seems. If the sides were tapered, that would help a lot, and a longer tapered back would be great.

But in general, BMW did their homework.


The non rex has a cd of 0.29, the rex version has a cd of 0.30. The car is too short (length) and tall to get a 0.24 of the tesla. The thing was designed to be easy to park, not to win in the low drag catagory.

Thanks, that is good to know. That is roughly the same drag as the Leaf, which also suffers from a short tail with only minimal tapering.

The additional drag probably is coming from the cooling system drag. Which is an advantage that EV’s have over ICE’s. Typically the cooling system accounts for ~10% of the overall drag on an ICE vehicle.


Nice garage. If she’s still asking you, tell her you want a two-post lift 😉


There’s a lot of shiny aluminum there.
You get what you pay for.