Londoners walking past Park Lane this past weekend witnessed a preview of BMW’s first i Store. This unveiling precedes an official store opening in July 25th and a summer of global demo projects. The i Store differs from BMW dealerships by focusing entirely on sustainable transportation including plug-in vehicles and mobility devices. BMW used this preview to highlight a full slate of sustainable products including the i3 plug-in sedan and the i Wallbox home charger. A key element to BMW’s worldwide efforts at sustainable transportation could be the i Pedelec Concept presented at the store preview.
The i Pedelec has been touted as an accessory for the i3 rather than a standalone device over the past year. Early demonstrations focused on how easily the i Pedelec folded into the i3’s trunk for charging. BMW seemed to turn a corner when demonstrating this e-bike during the Park Lane event. This concept bike uses a 42-volt electric motor and 300Wh lithium-manganese battery for riding assistance. A three-speed gear box automatically adjusts to the rider’s speed and cadence to provide the ideal amount of assistance. BMW developed a frame using aluminum and carbon fiber to keep weight down for easier operation.
BMW touts the simplicity of operating the i Pedelec Concept as much as the engineering advances. The i Pedelec assists riders up to 16 miles per hour with a battery range up to 25 miles per charge. Riders can fully recharge the battery in four hours using a standard household outlet or 90 minutes with a quick-charging device. The electric motor also recharges the battery during braking and downhill trips. BMW notes that low-speed operation allows riders to avoid registration, insurance and licensing requirements. Users also benefit from a “push” mode that shifts the bike’s wheels forward for easier storage on buses and trains.
The i Store demonstrates BMW’s holistic approach to electrified transportation. BMW demonstrated the i3 along Park Lane well ahead of the vehicle’s European release. A display about the i Wallbox noted the ease of home charging as well as the savings compared to gasoline or diesel. The BMW i Store will also handle services ranging from remote vehicle monitoring to charger maintenance. In the hands of other automakers, each component would be elevated as the next great transportation solution. BMW realizes that the i3, the i Pedelec and the i Wallbox function best when working together.
BMW will engage in public demonstrations of all-electric technology over the next six months that dovetail nicely with the i Store opening. Athletes and staff at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London will use plug-in BMW vehicles to reach events. BMW will also initiate the Born Electric Tour this month with demonstrations in France and Italy before stops in Southeast Asia. This tour will also showcase all-electric vehicles in the United States before returning to England by January 2013. Consumers dazzled by the sleekness of the i3 will overlook the simple brilliance of the i Pedelec. BMW could reach millions of urban commuters throughout the world by marketing this concept independent of the i3.
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