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BMW i3 on sale secondquarter 2014
<p> <strong>BMW i3 on sale second-quarter 2014.</strong></p>

BMW Details i3 Grade Strategy Ahead of Global Debut

The Mega, Tera and Giga grades offer a variety of features, including many eco-friendly materials and connectivity technologies.

NEW YORK – After announcing pricing details last week, BMW divulges a bit more information on its upcoming i3 electric vehicle, as the car makes its global debut here, as well as in London and Beijing.

The i3 will be available in three grades, or "Worlds," as BMW prefers: Mega, Giga and Tera.

"Due to the unfamiliarity of electric-mobility technology in the United States, buying an EV can be a daunting experience for the average customer," the auto maker says in a statement. "(We) sought to make this process as simple as possible."

The base i3 grade is the Mega World, but it gets many standard features befitting a luxury car, such as navigation and BMW's ConnectedDrive with eCall and I Remote systems.

The former is BMW's telematics service, which connects the customer to the 360 Electric service that will install charging stations for buyers. The i Remote app lets owners remotely view their i3's battery state-of-charge and heating/air conditioning status.

The i3 Mega World has 19-in. "extra efficient" forged aluminum wheels, a 7.4-kW onboard charger, light-emitting-diode headlights and an interior swathed in eco-friendly materials, including a lightweight and sustainable cloth fabric. A leather-trimmed steering wheel and grained dash trim also are standard on the Mega World.

The mid-grade i3 is the Giga World, which adds unique 19-in. wheels and a leather and wool-cloth interior, as well as a universal garage door opener, a sunroof and satellite radio. Contrast stitching is used on the leather steering wheel. Also standard on the Giga World is BMW's Comfort Access, providing the ability to open or lock the car's doors by touching the door handles.

The i3's upper grade is the Tera World, with another unique 19-in. wheel design, plus a full leather interior that has been tanned with olive-leaf extract. Textile accents, contrast stitching and anthracite floor mats come standard with the grade.

Available packages include technology and driving assist, which offers widescreen navigation with real-time traffic, online information services, forward collision warning and pedestrian protection.

A parking-assist package features a rearview camera and front-park distance control.

Many of the production i3's features and specifications carry over from the concept model shown at last year's Los Angeles auto show, including the 80-100-mile (129-161-km) real-world range, and 170 hp and 184 lb.-ft. (249 Nm) of torque output ratings.

BMW still pegs top speed at 93 mph (150 km/h) and a 7.0-second 0-60 mph (97km/h) time.

Many exterior design elements also carry over from the concept, including the Solar Orange Metallic paint. However, buyers choosing this will not receive the blue-outlined rear diffuser available with other colors.

BMW still pegs the car's weight at 2,700 lbs. (1,225 kg), thanks to its carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic cabin and a powertrain-components housing constructed of aluminum.

An optional range extender is available for the i3, in the form of a 34-hp 2-cyl. gas generator, which BMW says "roughly doubles" the i3's range. The 2-cyl. adds 330 lbs. (150 kg) to the i3's weight, and $3,850 to the car's $41,350 base price.

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