BMW i3: The ultimate driving machine is now electric, with a carbonfibre body

BMW has pulled the covers off the new BMW i3, which it says revolutionises personal transportation. The new electric vehicle sees the company making a strong commitment to what it is calling the "next premium", and moving towards a sustainable future for transportation.

Introducing the new car, BMW said that this was "one of the most important days in the company's history", revealing the 4-person passenger car that's aimed at those who live in "megacities", like London, Beijing and New York, in which BMW hosted simultaneous launch events today.

The BMW i3 is an electric vehicle with an all-new drivetrain, but brings with it a number of unique features. Looking to save weight, the car features a carbonfibre reinforced passenger cell, which BMW is now calling "our lightweight material of the future", with a strong suggestion that we'll see a lot of carbonfibre in its other passenger vehicles too.

BMW emphasises that the i3 has been developed to feel and drive like a BMW, so that once you're behind the wheel, it doesn't feel like a compromised experience. Like all BMWs, the motor drives the back wheels and the interior has been designed to bring that level of quality and refinement you expect from the German company.

The important stats include a 0-62mph figure of 7.2 seconds, so it's no slouch, along with a range of 130-160km (81-99 miles) from the lithium-ion battery.

If that range sounds a little too short for you, there will be the option to buy the BMW i3 with a range extender, which is effectively an on-board 650cc petrol generator that will keep the battery topped up with power. This will increase the range to around 130km (180 miles). 

The electric motor will generate 125kW/170hp with a peak torque of 250Nm/184lb-ft. As this is electric, that torque is available immediately, with BMW stating that in the first moment of acceleration, the i3 will outpace the BMW M3.

At home you'll be able to have the BMW i Wallbox Pure installed that will charge your BMW i3 to 80 per cent in 6 hours, with BMW also looking to have customers consider green options for sourcing electricity.

There's also a regular wall charger that can run from any mains socket, that will charge your i3 to 80 per cent in 8 hours.

The BMW i3 will available from 16 November in the UK, with orders starting in August. It will start from £25,680 on the road, the range extended model will be from £28,830. Those looking to lease will be looking at prices from £369 a month.