BMW showcases 94-MPG BMW i8 plug-in hybrid and i3 EV in Sochi olympics ads (video)

BMW i8 plug-in hybrid car
Screen capture Youtube

"Hello future"

The Sochi winter olympics are a big media event, and BMW has decided to spend a truckload of cash to promote its new i8 plug-in hybrid 'halo' car, which should go for sale in 2014. I'm always torn on these expensive engineering and design showcase pieces. On one hand, they'll never be made in large enough numbers to put a big dent on fuel consumption in the transportation sector, but on the other, they are very influential on the rest of the market. New technological innovations tend to enter the market at the high-end and then become more affordable over time.

Seen from that point of view, I think it's great that many of the top auto engineers are working on making plug-in vehicles rather than V12 monsters. Those with enough coin to buy these are subsidizing the development of these technologies for the rest of us, kind of like how early computers are cellphones were out of reach for most people but someone still needed to buy them for the technology to be viable.

So anyway, here's the BMW olympics ad:

On the i8, BMW writes: "The three-cylinder combustion engine in the BMW i8 develops 170 kW/231 hp and drives the rear wheels, while the 96 kW/131 hp electric motor draws its energy from a lithium-ion battery, which can be charged from a conventional 110 volt power outlet as well as a 220 volt electric vehicle charger, and sends its power to the front axle. This bespoke plug-in hybrid system, developed and produced by the BMW Group, enables a range in everyday driving of up to 35 kilometers (approx. 22 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (approx. 75 mph) on electric power alone, coupled with a “glued-to-the-road” all-wheel driving experience headlined by powerful acceleration and a dynamically-biased distribution of power through enthusiastically taken corners.

The more powerful of the two power sources drives the rear wheels and uses the electric boost from the hybrid system to deliver hallmark BMW driving pleasure while at the same time offering groundbreaking levels of efficiency. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) takes just 4.4 seconds, yet average fuel consumption – as calculated in the EU test cycle for plug-in hybrid vehicles – stands at the equivalent of 94 miles per US gallon from launch."

Here's the artsy launch video for the i8:

Both the current i3 and i8 are based on concepts that were unveiled back in 2011 (the i8 is pretty similar to an earlier concept that was shown in 2009):

There are also some pretty cool ads for the more affordable and 100% electric i3. The first one is probably the best:


See also: BMW unveils production i8 plug-in hybrid (94 MPG, coming to US in 2014)

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