Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Look At The BMW i3 Instrumentation

The display featured on the concept i3. The production version is thought to be very similar to this.
The 2013 BMW i3 will be a revolutionary vehicle. It will be be the first mass produced car that has an aluminum frame and a body made just about entirely out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. It will use a modern version of body-on-frame design with the aluminum drive module made completely separate from the passenger cell with the latter bolted and glued to the frame near the end of the production line. It will be the first all electric car that the BMW group offers for sale and it will be one of the most efficient vehicles ever offered for sale by any major automobile manufacturer.

It will also, have one of the most advanced and connected electronics and display systems. There hasn't been much written about the i3's electronics, but from the photo's that have been leaked so far, it is obvious BMW is working hard to make the driving experience custom tailored to then needs of an electric car driver. Built in navigation system that will list all charging station within your driving range and destination routing that even includes the part of your trip after you leave the car to use public transportation.

One thing that is interesting is there seems to be two numbers offered as the driving range based on your current state of charge, one that is based on normal driving and one based on the use of the Eco Pro mode which will reduce power to the motor and other energy using devices like cabin heating and cooling system. By doing so the car will use less energy and the range will be extended. The Eco Pro mode will undoubtedly give the car a less spirited driving experience, but when your cutting it close with your available range, believe me you will gladly trade off a bit of acceleration to make your destination. By displaying both estimated ranges, it will help the driver to decide which driving mode is best for that given destination.

Besides in car electronics, the i3 owner will have the ability to perform many functions in the car by the use of a smartphone. You'll be able to precondition the battery and cabin to the desired temperature. You'll be able to plug in a destination and the application will tell you if the car can make it there based on it's current state of charge or suggest charging stations to stop at along the route. It will also alert you once a pre-selected state of charge is attained. This can be very useful. Let's say you plugged in and then went off to run some errands while the car reached a certain state of charge necessary for you to make it home, the car will then send you a text message when that percentage is met, alerting you that it's safe to return to the car and begin your journey.














It going to be really interesting to see just what BMW is working on here, but judging from what is currently leaked, I'm thinking it will be pretty useful (and cool!).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Is This The Production BMW i3?

Autoblog scored some spy photo's of the BMW i3. The car is noticeably different from the original spy photo's that were taken last year of the car during cols weather testing. This looks VERY close to the concept i3 which is definitely good news.

At last weeks LA Auto Show, Richard Steinberg told George Parrot, reporting for Greencarreports that the concept i3 is “95 percent final” as compared to the production version. These photo's would seem to concur. The one obvious difference I can see is the doors. The concept had much larger doors that extended all the way into the wheel wells. The car in this photo clearly has smaller doors that do not extend to the wheel wells. Also, the rear "coach" doors do not have a handle so apparently they can only be opened once the front door is open, much like the MINI Clubman (and my Toyota Tacoma extended cab pick up).

Fake "Hybrid" badge on ActiveE
What Autoblog also reported was that they believe the car is fitted with the range extender (REx) option. I disagree. I think it's the pure BEV version. I see no sign of a tailpipe and the single reason they gave for this conclusion was that the car has badges that say "Hybrid Test Vehicle" That means nothing. When BMW was testing the ActiveE it had the same badges and that isn't a hybrid. I think BMW puts that on cars to confuse spy's and it worked!


Whether it is the BEV version or the REx version it really doesn't matter. What's important here is this proves the car will look very similar to the concept i3 and that's good news. The i3 that was photographed last year during testing look too boxy, this has much smoother lines. Can't wait to see it without all the camouflage! Here's some more pictures:










Sunday, November 13, 2011

BMW i3 "Special Sneak Peek" in NYC

I was invited to attend what BMW called the "Special Sneak Peek Event" for the BMW i3 & i8 on November 9th in New York City. It was the first time BMW has shown these two cars in North America. Later this month they will make their formal NA debuts at the LA Auto Show and this event was set up so journalists can get some information, interviews and pictures in advance of the show. There was well less than 100 people in total in attendance, including the BMW representatives, so even though it was a small space we all had easy access to get up close with the cars. In addition to the i3 & i8, there was an ActiveE, although I think I was just about the only person interested in looking at it. Next to the bold concept i3 & i8, the ActiveE looked very pedestrian.
Richard Kim discusses the exterior design of the i3
 
After about an hour long photo session, there were presentations by Richard Kim, exterior designer of the i3 & i8, and Rich Steinberg, manager of electric vehicle operations and strategy for BMW. Kim talked about how the designs for both cars were conceived, and how he and his team really started with a clean slate when they began the process. They even worked out of a new office that wasn't even in the same building as the other BMW employees and kind of isolated themselves so their thoughts and ideas for these two ground-breaking vehicles could be pure. Steinberg then spoke about how the extensive use of CFRP & aluminum will make the i3 extremely lightweight and efficient and how the LifeDrive architecture that these cars employ is revolutionary and allows for more efficient cars and lower assembly cost.  LifeDrive is basically a return of the body-on-frame design that consists of two components: the Life Cell and the Drive Module. These two components combine to form the vehicle, with the life cell secured to the drive module with remarkably only four bolts and glue.

After the presentation, we had an opportunity to talk individually with both men and get some more photos. The whole event lasted for about three hours and since there wasn't a lot of people there everyone had the opportunity to talk with Kim & Steinberg if they wanted to. Being in the MINI-E program for the past two and a half years it was really rewarding to see the i3 for the first time in person. A lot of the feedback that I and the other MINI-E pioneers have given BMW has gone into shaping the car, both aesthetically and mechanically. BMW has been criticized by some for not selling an EV yet, only leasing the MINI-E and ActiveE to a relatively small group of people in special lease only programs. It's been called anything from greenwashing to a California CARB credit grab. I don't doubt the CARB credits were a part of why these programs exist, and BMW has never denied it. However anyone that thinks or writes that BMW isn't committed to e-mobility and sustainable automobile manufacturing is either blind or has some sort of an agenda against them. Being first to market isn't BMW's plan for electric vehicles, being the best when to arrive is. In 2013 the BMW i3 will be the first fully electric BMW ever sold, and from everything I've seen about this car so far, and I've seen much more than most, I think they are on target to achieve their goal. If they can manage to keep this car at a reasonably price ($40 to $45k), then I think they are going to sell very well.

I was asked by GreenCarReports & PlugInCars to cover this event. You can read my reviews at these links:

http://www.plugincars.com/bmw-holds-electric-car-sneak-preview-nyc-110091.html

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1068445_sneak-peek-bmw-i3-and-i8-u-s-debut-before-la-auto-show

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Peek Into The BMW i3 Information Center



In the 2013 BMW i3 you will always be connected to the outside world and the information superhighway. Three large displays will act as interfaces between the vehicle and the outside world. See how they interact in the above video.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

To REx or Not To REx, That is The Question

The concept i3 sitting pretty in Chicago recently during a commercial shoot

In just about two years from now, you will be able to walk into any BMW showroom and drive away with an i3 electric car. It will be the first electric car BMW sells. Shortly thereafter, you will be able to buy that same i3, but with a gasoline engine range extender that BMW is calling REx, as an option. BMW hasn't commented on the cost of the REx option, but it's likely to be at least a few thousand dollars.

While I've really become a pure BEV guy, I have to admit I'm interested in the REx feature. Especially if the gasoline engine is very efficient. I would want the car to achieve at least 40mpg in REx mode, and preferably closer to 50 in order to seriously consider it.

There are also other factors that will influence my interest in the REx option. First, and most importantly, the range of the BEV i3 without REx. I'm beginning to get a little concerned about this because everything I have ever heard about the i3 pointed to at least a100 mile range. Now, at the official unveiling of the concept i3 the press is reporting a 80 to 100 mile range. Hmm. Red flag alert. I don't know why BMW would give the i3 a range less than 100 miles since they purposely made the MINI-E and the ActiveE have 100 mile ranges. Why go backwards now? BMW is a premium brand and the i3 will be a premium car with a premium price tag. In the EV world, there is nothing more premium than a greater range than your competition. I just hope BMW was just underselling the i3, basically doing the exact opposite that Nissan did by promising a 100 mile range for the LEAF and then delivering a 75 mile EV. If they state 80 to 100 miles and most people get 90+ miles during normal driving conditions then that's fine, but if you need to hypermile to get over 85 miles than I think they made a huge mistake. I'm probably just getting worked up about nothing. The folks over at BMW seem to really get it. I don't think they would make this big of a mistake. I've had many meetings and discussions with various members of the EV division and they all say 100 miles is the sweet spot, so we'll see..

Another factor in deciding if I want the REx option will be how much longer after the BEV i3 is introduced will the REx option be available. If we're talking a matter of months and the i3 really only has an 80 mile real world range, than I'd have to really consider waiting for it. However if at the i3 launch BMW still hasn't announced an availability date for the REx, then I doubt I'd even consider it.

Finally, the cost. I think I'd be willing to pay $2000 to $3,000 for the REx option, but definitely not more. Actually what I'd really wish BMW would offer is a larger battery pack option. How about 5 more kWh for the same $2000 to $3000? If that were available all this discussion would be moot. I'd buy the bigger battery in a heartbeat. Five more kWh would increase the cars range by 25 to 30 miles and for me, that would make it perfect. A 110 to 130 mile range BEV would cover virtually 100% of my daily driving needs and would end the discussion for a gasoline range extender. Anybody over at BMW listening???

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BMW CEO: BMW i3 Will Cost Less Than a 5 Series



BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer recently stated that the 2013 BMW i3 would cost less than a BMW 5 series sedan. While that may not be earth shattering news, it does give us a pretty good idea where the i3 will be positioned price wise. List price for a new 528i is currently about $45,000 so my thoughts that the i3 would be somewhere between the $35,000 price that Car & Driver recently reported the i3 would cost and the rumors that it would be in the low to mid 40's seem to be right on target.
At this point I'm going to guess a starting list price of $42,500. If you qualify for the $7,500 federal tax incentive (and if it's still there in 2013!) then you could drive away in your new i3 for around $35,000 to $38,000 depending on how well appointed you want it. I think that a pretty fair price for a car that has the kind of cutting edge technology the i3 is going to have.

Monday, September 5, 2011

BMW i3 Spotted in Chicago Filming a Commercial

It's only a short clip, but it's nice to see the concept i3 rolling down a street in Chicago. Although the concept has features like glass doors and roof, you can really see from this what the car will look like. On stage at the unveiling is one thing, but watching it drive on the street in the video gives a better sense of it's dimensions and shape. I can't wait until we see it in production trim!

Friday, July 29, 2011

BMW i3 Concept Revealed!

So here it is. It's been over two years since we first started hearing about the mysterious BMW "Megacity Vehicle" since dubbed the 2013 BMW i3 and we're finally getting an official look at what BMW has been cooking up.

This is a concept, so the production version will be a bit different, but overall the shape will be pretty much what we see here. They will of course lose the glass side panels and roof, both to be replaced with carbon fiber panels as is the entire outer shell. If you compare it to the renderings in the post below this, you see it is kind of a hybrid of a few of them. There haven't been much details released yet, but some of them of note that I did read are the car will have tall 19" wheels, which are very large diameter for a car of this size. The stated purpose for these are that they lower the rolling resistance and improve efficiency. It will also go 0-60 in under 8 seconds. It will charge on a regular household 110v outlet in six hours. That basically means the battery pack is small as previously reported, probably 16 to 18 kWh. It will also have a range extender option that BMW calls i-REx. The range extender will be a small gasoline(not diesel) engine that will only charge the battery pack, it will not have the ability to drive the wheels directly like the Chevy Volt can under certain circumstances.

 I'm sure there will be lot's of info coming out in the next few days, I'll try to get it all up here as soon as it's available.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

BMW i3 Rendering Review

I have heard from various sources that BMW is going to publicly unveil their pre-production version of the 2013 i3 at a press gathering on July 28th. I have had a few journalists that have been invited reach out to me and ask if I would be attending also. I will not, but I'm sure it won't be long after that I get the details of what whs announced and even some nice photo's of the i3.

Since we'll finally get to see what the BMW designers have come up with, I thought I'd post some of the artist renderings we have has to look at since the i3 was first announced last year. Back then, BMW would only refer to it as the MegaCity vehicle. I'll start it off with the spy photograph that was taken of the car during cold weather testing is Sweden earlier this year.  You can click on the photos to enlarge them.























As you can see there are common themes that hold up through most of the renderings. In less than a month I think we'll know who was closest to the mark. Stay tuned...






Thursday, June 23, 2011

BMW i3: The Intersection of Policy, Business, & Carbon


I recently came across this interesting report. It's titled "BMW: i3 Electric Vehicle. The Intersection of Policy, Business, & Carbon" and was written by Lauren Blasch, Jeremy Pomp, Marla Stancil, Shyam Vijayaraghavan.







The report focuses on electric vehicles and their carbon footprint in general, as opposed to being i3 specific. It demonstrates that depending on the source of the electricity used for charging the car, EV's can range from better to worse than a Toyota Prius in carbon emissions. It's interesting that they used the most efficient hybrid currently available to compare electric vehicle emissions to. I think it might have been more useful to use the Pruis and also show on the graph the average internal combustion engine cars carbon emissions also. They even go as far as to detail which states are better suited for electric cars based on their electricity generation mix. The good news is that New York and California, the target markets for the i3 since they both have "megacities" were two of the states that were "EV favorable" The report is only 28 pages long and many of the pages are graphs so it doesn't take long to read. There are some interesting fact in there so I recommend reading it if you are interested in electric vehicles and their impact on the environment.

One thing to consider though, the report is strictly focused on the carbon emissions of vehicles and I advocate electric cars for more reasons than just their carbon footprint. Even if you live in a state that produces 100% of it's electricity from burning coal, and by using an EV you are producing more carbon than if you owned a Toyota Prius, you are still spending your energy dollars on a DOMESTIC product. You are not contributing to the crushing trade imbalance, much of which is created from importing foreign oil and you are not sending some your money to radical Middle Eastern regimes, many of which hate us. Electricity is produced and distributed by local and regional companies, and 100% of the money you spend on it stays local. If you ask me, that's reason enough to drive an electric car.

Monday, June 20, 2011

BMW i3 To be Officially Introduced in July!


According to BMWCOOP and some of my other sources, the BMW i3 as well as the i8 may be formally introduced as early as late July. This goes against most reports that the i3 will be seen for the very first time at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. 

While BMW has shown pre-production i8's in videos, they have never shown the public an i3 in the flesh and have only provided vague sketches of the car that is hoped to revolutionize the electric car market, setting new standards for efficiency as well as being the first-ever mass produced car that is made entirely of lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum. This car may very well pave the way for BMW as well as other major OEM's to offer dramatically lighter, more efficient cars that require less energy to operate.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

BMW i3 To Be Introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show!


Although it hasn't been officially announced by BMW, there have been numerous reports that the BMW i3 will be introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show this September, albeit in pre-production form.

Will we finally get to see how the car will look without all the blue and white swirly camouflage? It would appear so. We'll also get to see how the actual tail lights look since the circular, protruding lights in the above photo are most certainly there just to hide the real look of the rear of the vehicle, automakers do this stuff all the time to hide how the car looks until they are ready to show it off. Fortunately, it looks like they will be doing just that in a few months at the Frankfurt International Motor Show

I believe it will be a pre-production model so while most of the vehicle will be close to production, some things will change. It has been long rumored that the official production version of the i3 will make it's world debut at the 2012 London Olympics and that plan is probably still in effect. Still, it's exciting that we will get to see the general form and lines of the car in about three months. This car has a lot of hype to live up to, I hope the BMW designers don't let us down!

Monday, May 16, 2011

2013 BMW i3 to cost $35,000? That's what Car & Driver says


According to this report from Car & Driver, the 2013 BMW i3 is going to cost $35,000, have a 150 hp motor and have a driving range of 160 miles.

If true, this is great news. I have been following the i3 since it was first revealed and everything that I have read and heard pointed to less impressive stats. I have been figuring it would cost at least $40,000, have a range of 100 miles and have a 135 hp motor. Obviously if Car and Drivers "deep inside source in M√ľnchen" is correct, than BMW has been playing us a bit with the information they have been occasionally releasing to the media. I hope C&D is right with this info, it would really put the i3 at the top of the list of available electric cars options in 2013 if it's so. 

UPDATE: After contacting Car & Driver and challenging the 160 mile range claim, they admitted they were wrong and that the i3 will have a 100 mile range as I expected. Car and Driver should just check with me next time, don't you think? :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

BMW Carbon Fibers Factory in Moses Lake, WA is Completed and Ready To Begin Production


It may not be much to look at in the above picture, but this newly constructed factory in Moses Lake, Washington will play a big role in the BMW i3 and probably many other future BMW vehicles.

BMW, along with the SGL Group built this facility in Moses Lake primarily because they will be able to take advantage of the inexpensive electricity which is mostly all generated by hydro power. Besides the cheap electric rates, this renewable way of generating electricity is in line with BMW's commitment to sustainability, and allows them to make the energy-intensive carbon fiber material without producing nearly as much pollution as they would if they were using electricity from a coal burning power plant. 

This facility will employ 80 workers by the end of this year and up to 200 once all six buildings on the campus are completed and operational. With these plans, it's obvious that BMW intends on using CFRP in many more vehicles than only the i3. This is more evidence the i3 may just be the "revolutionary" vehicle that BMW has been touting it as. The combination of the highly efficient electric drivetrain, the newly developed lithium-ion battery cells that are nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry and the extensive use of advanced materials sounds like the engineers have been busy at work. 

Hopefully the designers do as good a job on the vehicles appearance. It's hard to tell what's under all the camouflage in the spy photo's we have seen, but the overall shape doesn't really capture the sleek, streamlined look that the BMW-released rendering appeared to have. However we'll have to wait until we see an actual pre-production i3 without all the camouflage to really critique the design. Rumor has it we'll only have to wait until the Frankfurt Auto Show in September...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

BMW Recruiting Engineers to Focus on Lightweight, Carbon-Fiber Composites


According to this report BMW is recruiting 40 engineers that specialize in carbon fiber to join the i3 and i8 development teams.

The photo above is the frame of the i3 during crash testing simulations. This further proves BMW's commitment to the extensive use of CFRP in their future models, particularly vehicles in the new i line.

The i3 will eventually have three variations. The initial i3, the one we have been focusing on here will be a three door hatchback that seats four and is scheduled to be release in 2013. Rumors have it that this version will be then offered with an onboard range extending, gasoline powered generator. A few years later, there will be a smaller two seat hatchback with a smaller range for inner city driving, and then a five seat, four door version that is larger then the original i3 and will have a larger battery with a range at least as great as the original i3.

BMW may be joining the EV party a bit later than some competitors, but they certainly have some grand plans for the next three to five years. This recent news about hiring more engineers that specialize in CFRP only adds credibility to their commitment to light weight, highly efficient electric and plug in hybrid vehicles. That's good news in my book.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Latest BMW i3 Illustration Appears

BMW Blog posted a new i3 rendering. today. It may not seem like big news, but BMW is doing their best to keep details and photos of the i3 under wraps so even drawings become news on the i3. 
It seems that ever since the spy shots were captured, the illustrations are able to really capture the cars general lines. I'm still a little concerned about the apparent bump in the short stubby nose, but this illustration makes it look OK. I trust the BMW designers will make the i3 look good. However the spy shots with all the camouflage don't leave an image of a great looking vehicle. I know that BMW probably has deliberately modified the body a bit under the swirly white & blue body cover so you really can't believe everything you see until the car is officially revealed. Rumor has it that BMW will show a pre production version of the i3 for the first time at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

Monday, April 11, 2011

BMW Hires Frank Weber, Former Lead Engineer for the Chevy Volt

In a move that further solidifies BMW's commitment to electric cars, they have just hires Frank Weber, former head engineer for the Chevy Volt. Frank will report to Klaus Draeger, BMW's head of R&D

This move is a little surprising because in the past, BMW has rarely hired top people from other auto makers, electing instead to train and promote from within. In my opinion, this is an example of how important BMW feels it is to accelerate their electric car line and not fall behind in the race to bring a wide range of electric cars and plug in hybrids to their showrooms.

What I find particularly interesting is that there have been a lot of rumors around that BMW will be offering a range extender for the i3 shortly after the original BEV version is released in 2013. I'm hearing a lot of talk about a three cylinder, turbo charged engine as being the suspected powerplant for such a set up. This would make the i3 very similar to the Volt so in that regard Mr. Weber's experience can make an immediate impact on the development of the i3.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

BMW i3: Light Weight Means Less Energy Storage Needed

The Power Electronics & Battery System of the i3's Drive System

The previous post here showed a video about CFRP, the material that will be used in the "Life Cell" of the 2013 BMW i3. The picture above is part of the other component of the cars unique LifeDrive architecture, the drive system. This is the energy storage and power electronics the car will employ. Suprisingly, it may only use a 16 kWh battery pack, exactly half the size of the pack in the upcoming BMW ActiveE, yet give the vehicle roughly the same range of the larger, heavier and less efficient ActiveE. However it is possible that the 16 kWh is the "usable" amount of energy which would mean the pack would be around 20 kWh. BMW hasn't announced the actual size, so this is really speculation at this point.

To put that accomplishment in even better perspective, the battery is only about 45% of the size of the battery pack currently in the MINI-E's yet the car is bigger, has two more seats, much more storage space and is expected to offer the same driving range.


The batteries used will be the same that are in the BMW ActiveE, which will launch as a trial lease program this fall. They are newly developed Lithium-ion cells which will be using a nickel-manganese-cobalt chemistry made by SB-Limotive. SB-Limotive is a joint venture of Korean conglomerate Samsung and German parts giant Bosch. The ActiveE will use 192 cells in 25 modules in three separate battery blocks as opposed the the picture above where the i3's batteries are all located in one enclosure, a result of the car being a purpose-built EV and not a retrofitted ICE platform like the ActiveE. It's been rumored the i3 may use only 96 cells, in 48 smaller modules(only 2 cells per module) packed in rows under the Life Cell driving compartment and be thermally conditioned.

The end result means two main things. The battery is usually the most expensive part of an EV, and since the battery pack will be half the size of the ActiveE, it will cost significantly less to manufacturer, helping to keep the selling price of the i3 to a reasonable point. Secondly, less batteries means less weight and helps to further increase efficiency.


Complete Battery & Drive System of the 2013 BMW i3
Of course, none of this information has been "officially" released by BMW so it is speculation on my part. However, since it has been "reported" and "rumored" by many different media outlets I think it's safe to assume it is mostly accurate. The only question I have is whether the 16 kWh is the total pack or the usable amount which is usually about 80% of the packs total energy storage capacity.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BMW i3 & CFRP, Perfect Together


One of the main goals BMW had with the development of the Megacity car now known as the i3, was to reduce the weight as much as possible while providing a strong, safe passenger cell. The extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics or CFRP, has allowed them to do just that. While the use of CFRP isn't a new idea in the automotive industry, using it as extensively as BMW is on the i3 is groundbreaking. It's been written that by using CFRP as extensively as they are, it has cut the weight of the vehicle by as much as 700lbs. This will allow BMW to use less of the expensive batteries and still hit their target 100 mile range. That will also reduce cost and further reduce weight since the batteries are also heavy. The above video talks about how BMW is using CFRP and references the i3 a couple times.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BMW Website now has i3 Information


BMW now has an i3 section on their website. While it doesn't have any new information that hasn't been available here and on the internet for a while now, at least they have begun to post information about it. While it's still over two years away from production, there are a lot of people following it and waiting for every bit of information as it's released.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First Spy Images of the i3 Surface!


For over a year now BMW has been talking about the 2013 "Megacity" vehicle. It will be the first all electric BMW sold ever. Since it was first announced, we have never actually seen a picture or a clear rendering of what the car will look like, just vague sketches until now. The photos to the left show the actual i3(albeit in camouflage) during cold weather testing.

A couple things that stand out immediately are the circular tail lights that extend out from the car. They look cool but I do wonder if they will be prone to breakage. Also note the tall, thin tires. I have heard about these but had not seen any pictures or drawings before these photos. Evidentlly, BMW has been working on a special tire that has very low rolling resistance for the i3. This cars main purpose is to be efficient, and the rolling resistance of tires play a bigger role than you might expect. For example, when BMW puts the winter snow tires on my MINI-E, I immediately see a reduction in range of about 3%. Now if they could design a tire that alone increases the range by 5 to 8%, think of how that helps the overall efficiency of the car. Hopefully this wheel/tire combo will not sacrifice much handling or ride comfort though, because after all, it still needs to feel like a BMW.