We ‘ve known for a few months now that BMW will be using basically the same powertrain in the i3 as is scheduled for the soon to be release BMW ActiveE. In the 1 Series based ActiveE that equates to roughly 100 miles on a charge with 170 horsepower and maximum torque of 184 lb-ft. But the theory goes that BMW may tune the i3 with slightly less power given that it will weight less (approximately 300 kg or 660 lbs less than a standard steel unibody car). Car & Driver suggests that may mean around 150 hp with a 160 mile range.
But less weight means more than better range. Less weight also means that BMW will almost surely use less batteries to motivate the i3. More specifically the ActiveE uses 192 battery cells versus the i3 that is expected to use around half the cells. Since batteries are typically the most pricey part of an EV this should allow BMW to reduce costs and price the i3 more aggressively than some have expected.
Car and Driver has recently chimed in with their guess that the i3 will ring up around $35,000. However based on our sources we believe BMW may only allow leasing initially on the i3 with pricing very close to the $499 a month that the ActiveE has been aggressively priced at. That ‘s almost half the cost of BMW ‘s first EV the $850 a month MINI E and much more affordable than the almost $50,000 price-point we initially heard rumored.