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The BMWi is a green dream

The Germans are at it again, leading the way in the car market. The BMWi model range was launched this week in Munich, including a car with the performance of a supercar but all the benefits of a hybrid car in terms of economy and their impact on the environment – it delivers 90 miles per gallon, which can be no bad thing in this era of ever-escalating fuel price rises.

The range will start with 2 models, the i3, an electric car for the city, almost inevitably, and the i8, which is where the supercar performance comes in. The i3 will be the perfect car for the city, more than capable of carrying four adults in relative comfort and with a range in excess of one hundred miles. The real show-stopper, though will be the i8 electric/diesel hybrid, which may radically alter the way we look at electric cars in future.

Electric cars have had to live with an image that suggests a great idea but too bland, however, the i8 will offer a top speed of 155mph, the same as its speed-limited normal model range, and a 0-60mph time of under five seconds, while giving economy figures of 90 miles per gallon, a range comfortably in excess of 400 files and CO2 figures under 100g per kilometer, which has the added advantage that you will not pay any road tax if you own one. All of this from a turbo diesel engine of only 1.5 litres. Price will be around £100k.

Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing, said that the new range would set the standard by which electric and hybrid cars will be judged in future. BMW-owned Rolls Royce has only just launched an electric Phantom and electric Minis are not far behind.

The i8 will feature in ‘The Ghost Protocol’, the new Mission Impossible film.

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