The three-cylinder, plug-in hybrid BMW i8 Concept Spyder has a 0-62mph acceleration time of 5 seconds, a top speed of 155 mph, and fuel economy of 94mpg .
The i8 Concept Spyder is powered by an ‘eDrive’ drivetrain combining a high performance electric motor with a turbocharged, three-cylinder petrol engine. The lithium Ion batteries are stowed centrally for optimum weight distribution, and can be charged quickly from a domestic power socket.
The i8 Concept Spyder uses a 131hp electric motor to power the front axle, and a 223hp turbocharged three-cylinder engine to power the rear axle. Both have been developed in-house by BMW. With its lightweight construction the combined power output of 354hp propels the Spyder from zero to 62mph in just 5.0 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph, yet delivers combined fuel consumption of 94mpg.
The electric motor gets its energy from the car’s lithium ion batteries and can be fully charged via a domestic plug socket in under two hours . The Spyder has a range of 19 miles running on electric power alone, while a high voltage generator can generate additional power if needed and store it in the battery. Due to the arrangement of the power sources, the Spyder can run in front-wheel, rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, the vehicle’s electronics deciding on the optimum configuration depending on the situation.
Although closely related to the original i8 Concept, the new i8 Concept Spyder is strictly a two-seater , with a shorter wheelbase and new, upward swivelling, windowless doors. It also features a new interpretation of the i8’s interior design, and additional on-board equipment including a pair of electric scooters, housed under a transparent tailgate.
The Spyder has a light but very strong carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) cell, and the various Drive modules – powertrain, chassis and the safety structures – are mainly constructed from aluminium components. The result is that the additional weight of the high-output Hybrid drivetrain has been completely cancelled out.
The car’s lithium ion batteries are housed in an ‘energy tunnel’ that joins the front and rear axles, maintaining a low centre of gravity and ensuring BMW’s trademark 50:50 weight distribution.
The i8 Concept Spyder has new upward-opening doors which pivot forward around the axis of the A-pillar, and a two-section roof is planned.
The vehicle’s power electronics are linked to the intelligent navigation and traffic guidance systems. If a jam is detected ahead the hybrid system will charge the battery in advance , thereby allowing the car to run in pure electric mode while stuck in traffic.
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