Video: BMW i3 Safe Zero Emissions – BMW Shows It, Then Destroys It

MAY 19 2013 BY JAY COLE 7


This Makes Us Sad

This Makes Us Sad

As the BMW i3 (and i8) near production, we are starting to see more and more communication from the German company about not only what their cars can do, but how safe they are.

“Many people want a sustainable, emission free drive, in other words electric drive – extremely agile and offering a high level of performance and torque.  But they sometimes worry about this new battery technology is safe in the event of an accident…”

During the short video on how robust their zero emission systems are, BMW says that their “batteries are essentially designed to last as long as the car itself.”  While adding that the batteries and the entire high voltage system are “subjected to every conceivable test in a program that in some ways, is really something like torture…but tortured in the customer’s interest.”

BMW Lithium Battery Pack Goes For A Swim

BMW Lithium Battery Pack Goes For A Swim

Batteries are:

  • perforated with nails
  • crushed
  • overheated
  • submerged
  • shake tested
  • given an extreme drop test*

“We are absolutely confident that we are able to offer BMW i customers electro-mobility which provides lasting safety.”

Also of interest, inside the video is some footage of the i3, without its customary “blue tornado” camouflage (that we have come to despise).  Here is hoping that the next BMW video just shows the car in its completely production-intent form.

*so look for one jumping off a cliff or bridge in the next Transporter (and/or any other Jason Statham movie) in the future

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7 Comments on "Video: BMW i3 Safe Zero Emissions – BMW Shows It, Then Destroys It"

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The more shots I see of this battery pack, the less convinced I am about its liquid cooling system. Supposedly it is liquid cooled but it sure is hard to tell from the photos.

The battery pack does indeed utilize a liquid based thermal management system George. No need to worry about that. 🙂

The i3 will be a tough sell, even with the might of the BMW’s marketing machine behind it. At least since they are late to the game BMW may have learned some valuable lessons from the competition. Will BMW be willing to sell the i3 at a competitive price and take a loss on them for the foreseeable future? Are they reusing and expanding the platform to other models (i.e. a mid-sized i5) to indicate they are serious about EVs? What about electric motorcycles?

From the beginning of this “electrification” of the auto, starting with the volt, we have been waiting for greater range in an all electric, well designed auto as I see in the BMW i3. This BMW will be released earlier than the next gen Tesla which is our ultimate goal. The excitement is building for us now!

Can it run normal power when the optional extender comes on like in a Volt?


The big question is: Will its optional range-extender have a direct linkage to the drive wheel as the Volt does? Initially, we were told there was no connection between the Volt’s gasoline engine and the wheels. Then we found out otherwise.

Since it’s optional, I would say it’s a true range extender engine, not a combo drive engine/range extender like on the Volt.

Based on the publicly available information as of this writing, the range extender will not have any direct link to the wheels. It will be there only to provide electricity to the battery pack. Based on some real-world data gleaned from the LEAF, which has a comparably sized body shell, the range extender should be able to propel the i3 up to a speed of 70 or 75 mph. This assumes flat terrain and no wind. If the battery pack will buffer some of the energy provided by the range extender, small inclines should be possible, and the vehicle should be adequately powered to face most urban driving situations.

mph | kW
—- | —-
35 | 5.6
40 | 6.8
45 | 8.7
50 | 10.9
55 | 12.8
60 | 15.4
65 | 18.0
70 | 21.2
75 | 25.0