BMW unveiled its first mass-produced electric car yesterday to journalists in New York, London, and Beijing–and the new i3 is aimed directly at city drivers. The car’s features, which include a compact size that’s easy to park, a relatively short-range but quick recharging battery, and passenger-side exiting for drivers, indicate the German car giant is going straight for the world’s well-heeled city dwellers.
The standard i3 has an 80-to-100 mile range on a 170 horsepower electric engine, but buyers can choose to upgrade to a two-cylinder range extender engine that can handle up to 180 miles. Cars can be recharged at public EV charging stations, and BMW boasts that the i3’s DC Fast Charger can get an 80% top-up in just 20 minutes. American customers will be able to purchase the car starting in 2014; the starting price is $42,275 before taking tax incentives into account. The range extender will cost several thousand more.