On July 25 BMW will open the world’s first i Store on London’s Park Lane, situated in-between regular BMW and Mini dealerships, where it will be promoting and eventually selling the company’s new range of electric vehicles. For now, visitors can see an almost production ready version of the i3, the sporty i8, and the newly announced i Pedelec electric bicycle.
The store represents the latest stage in BMW’s ambitious electric plans, which will continue next month when it will have a fleet of 200 electric cars in use at the London Olympics. Made up of 160 full-electric 1 Series ActiveEs and 40 Mini Es, they’ll also be joined by 200 BMW i Pedelec bicycles.
The i Pedelec has been official revealed as a concept at a press event at the i Store, and will be used by athletes and Olympic staff to zip around stadiums during the Games.
Despite being a bicycle, it’s actually a bit of a technical marvel. Made from aluminum and carbon fiber, it has a 200 watt electric motor strapped to the frame, giving it a battery-powered range of 33 miles and a maximum speed of 15 miles-per-hour. You won’t need a license or a helmet to ride one, either.
When the battery is depleted, there’s a set of pedals to keep you going (range unknown, as it depends on how spindly your legs are) and it takes up to four hours to recharge.
The i Pedelec’s debut fits in perfectly with the i3 on display, quite literally, as it can be folded up and stored in the back, where it will even recharge itself.
BMW says the i Pedelec is just a concept at the moment, but as it has gone to the trouble of making a charging platform for the back of the i3, it seems highly unlikely that it won’t be available when the car goes on sale next year. Like the rest of the new BMW i range, don’t expect it to be cheap though.
The Pedelec also fits in with BMW’s “360-degree Electric” initiative, which aims to make ownership of an electric car less daunting by providing a comprehensive assistance package, such as a custom home charging station called the i Wallbox, an information line to help guide people to close-by charging stations, and a support truck in case you run out of “go.”
Its DriveNow scheme will put a choice of vehicles at the disposal of i cars owners — some with normal, internal combustion engines — so if they need to drive further than the range of their electric cars, it won’t be a problem.
Does an innovative set of services built around a small selection of products, which all have the letter “i” in their names and are sold from fancy showrooms, remind you of anyone else?