CEO Norbert Reithofer stressed at a New York unveiling that the car was designed as an electric from the ground up. The i3 is "born electric," he said.
The company says the i3, built in Leipzig, Germany, will go from zero to 100kph (zero to 62 mph) in 7.2 seconds. Its range is billed as 130-160 kilometers (80-100 miles). Models with an optional range extender gas engine can go as far as 300 kilometers (200 miles.)
The car goes on sale in November in Germany and other European markets starting at 34,950 euros ($46,000) and reaches the U.S., Japan and China next year.