BMW Reveal i8 Spyder – Plug in Hybrid with Lightweight Composite Body

3rd April 2012

BMW has revealed the third vehicle in its ‘i’ range of electric drive cars. The i8 Concept Spyder joins the i3 and i8 vehicles as a soft top plug in hybird variant with an estimated fuel consumption of 94 mpg.

The BMW i3 and i8 were officially first revealed to the public at the 2011 Frankfurt Show and caused quite a stir for their extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastics to create lightweight, energy efficient vehicles. The i vehicles represent BMW’s philosophy of developing high performance, high volume electric drive vehicles which take full advantage of new materials technology to minimize fuel consumption.

The reveal of the i8 Concept Spyder adds a third vehicle to the previously announced all electric i3 and plug in hybrid i8 Coupe. Like the Coupe, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder is a plug-in hybrid powered by an eDrive drivetrain combining a high-performance electric motor and petrol combustion engine.

Compared with the i8 Coupe, the BMW i8 Concept Spyder has a slightly shorter wheelbase and overall length. The BMW i8 Concept Spyder is also built around the innovative LifeDrive architecture, a fusion of independent functional units. For example, the carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) Life module gives the car an extremely lightweight passenger cell, while the Drive modules – made primarily from aluminium components – bring together all the car’s operational driving functions, such as the powertrain, chassis and safety structure.

According to BMW, the use of lightweight composite materials along with an aluminum chassis has allowed the car maker to completely cancel out the extra weight added by incorporating a hybrid drivetrain.

The Concept Spyder vehicle integrates a 96 kW (131 hp) electric motor on the front axle which works in tandem with a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine sending 164 kW (223 hp) through the rear wheels. Both units are in-house BMW Group developments and generate an aggregate system output of 260 kW (354 hp) and peak torque of 550 Newton metres. That is enough to accelerate the BMW i8 Concept Spyder from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in five seconds on the way to an electronically governed top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

In related news, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, the joint venture of SGL Group and BMW Group, reported at JEC Europe 2012 on March 26 that it has begun expansion of its carbon fiber manufacturing facility in Moses Lake, Wash., USA. The facility produces the carbon fiber required for structural composite parts for the BMW i vehicles. Carbon fiber from the plant is sent to Germany for weaving, preforming and resin transfer molding (RTM) of passenger cell structures for the vehicles.

Find out more about the BMW i Vehicles at

Press Release issued by BMW