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BMW releasing its first electric car on July 29

Here's a sneak peek: The 2014 BMW i3 electric car, rolling out in dealerships on July 29, has a futuristic, minimalistic styling and is made out of sustainable materials.

By Antony IngramGuest blogger / July 2, 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Henning Kagermann, head of the National Academy of Science and Engineering, look at a BMW i3 Concept-Coupe at the Electric Mobility Conference of German government in Berlin earlier this year. The 2014 BMW i3 is BMW's first official mass-production electric car.

Soeren Stache/Reuters/File


The 2014 BMW i3 electric car is coming... but you knew that already.

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Still, it gives BMW a chance to release another video, albeit one that tells us absolutely nothing save for the car's official date of unveiling: July 29th.

Luckily, previous videos, plenty of spy shots and numerous auto show appearances by i3 concepts means we've built up quite a knowledge base on the i3 already, so a video of depressingly beautiful people jumping up and down in a fashion shoot isn't all we have to go on.

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What we know is that the i3 is the first official mass-production electric car by BMW, using knowledge gleaned from the MINI E and BMW ActiveE field tests.

It's roughly subcompact-sized and uses a rear-mounted electric motor to power the rear wheels, keeping one of BMW's traditions alive. The rest of the car is very different from anything we've seen of the Bavarian automaker before, a deliberate move as the i3 also launches BMW's i sub-brand.

The styling is squat, upright and expected to be fairly futuristic. We've not seen the full production car yet--that's what this video is all about--but it's unlikely to differ too greatly from BMW's previous i3 and i3 Coupe concepts.

Inside, the i3 will be fairly minimalist, and should be one of the greatest departures yet by an electric car from the more traditional layouts found in many existing electric vehicles. BMW is playing up its use of sustainable materials, simple design and high technology.

With a quoted 0-60 mph time of 7.6 seconds it'll be among the quicker electric vehicles when it goes on sale, though its 70-100 mile expected range is par for the course.

BMW will also offer a range-extended version though, its twin-cylinder motorycle-derived gasoline engine doubling the car's range--albeit with a lower power output in range-extending mode. For longer trips still, BMW is offering a gasoline-powered loaner vehicle whenever the i3 owner requests.

Pricing should be similar to that of a "well-equipped 3-Series", so we're throwing our eggs in the $42,000-$46,000 basket.

Will BMW spring any more surprises on us when the car appears on July 29th? We'll just have to wait and see.


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