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In its simplest terms an electric car is no different from anything else battery-powered. The energy in the batteries powers the motor, until they run out of charge. Then, charge them up and use it again.

BMW i3

BMW i3.

BMW i vehicles have a variety of charging options. Any household socket is a possible source, as is a BMW i Wallbox, or if you’re away from home use one of the thousands of public charging stations.
The huge advantage of battery power is that electricity is much, much cheaper than petrol or diesel, especially if you have an overnight electricity tariff. Even without, mile-for-mile a traditionally fuelled car is three to four times more expensive to run than a BMW i3*.

By doing away with a traditional engine, there’s no need for a gearbox, which saves weight. As does the lack of coolant, radiator or pump. Additionally, the BMW i3 and BMW i8 have a passenger compartments largely made from carbon fibre, which is stronger and lighter than steel.

Together, its light weight and modern battery technology give the i3 a range of up to 125 miles, or with the range extender 194 miles, with minimal emissions. And with all the power available as soon as you press the accelerator, delivered seamlessly without gear-change interruptions, it’s a drive like no other.

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BMW i8


The BMW i8, like the BMW i3, uses carbon fibre extensively, taking full advantage of its light weight and strength. However, unlike the BMW i3 the BMW i8 has two power sources: an electric motor in the front driving the front wheels, and a BMW TwinPower Turbo petrol engine at the rear driving the rear wheels.

Together these power sources provide 357hp and create supercar performance, yet with the remarkably low CO2 emissions of 49g/km and fuel consumption of 134.5mpg. Switch to eDrive using batteries alone, and it produces no emissions at all at the point of use.

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BMW 330e iPerformance


BMW iPerformance models use the same technology as BMW i models, but with a smaller battery pack, which gives them a smaller electric range. They also have a petrol engine that will power them when the electric motor can’t – such as when there’s no charge left, or when more speed or power than the electric motor can deliver is required.

Like the BMW i models, all BMW iPerformance models can use a household power socket to charge their batteries, or they can use public charging stations. And with automatic gearboxes as standard you’ll be hard pressed to tell when the petrol engine kicks in or helps the electric motor for bursts of acceleration, as the power handover is seamless.

The other difference between BMW i models and the BMW iPerformance range is that the latter are based on familiar BMW models – the 2 Series Active Tourer, the 3 Series Saloon, the X5 and the 7 Series. Which means that they have the familiar BMW road presence and drive, but with a level of efficiency that sets them apart.  

Explore BMW iPerformance models