BMW i3 concept spotlights sustainability 

BWM’s electric i3 Concept – slated for production in 2013 – will get fresh play at the Paris Motor Show, and the automaker really wants you to stick your head inside the car this time.

That’s apparently where the work has been focused since BWM unveiled the concept in Frankfurt a little over a year ago.

In announcing its Paris lineup, BMW actually didn’t say a lot about the “new version” of the i3 that it will put on display, beyond the interior upgrades – which got a less extensive preview in London this past June when the company opened its first BMW i Store.

If you missed that (we did), BMW enthused about its efforts to bring sustainability to luxury. This was accomplished with the use of “leather, wood, wool and other renewable raw materials” in the car’s interior.

For instance, the wood used for the instruments? That’s eucalyptus from sustainably managed European forests, BMW says.

We don’t know if the leather comes from grass-fed cattle, but BMW says the tanning agent used is an “extract from the leaves of the olive tree,” providing protection against bleaching and wear and “maximizing durability as well as minimizing environmental impact.”

When we last wrote about the i3 we described it as a four-seater, but BWM has made a shift there, too: Out is any center tunnel bisecting the cabin, BMW says.

Instead, “full-width seat benches in the front and rear allow passengers to swap easily from one side of the car to the other and climb out comfortably.” You could probably slide up next to someone you liked pretty easily, too.

What apparently hasn’t changed since our last visit with the i3 is the heavy use of glass for the vehicle, or the drive system – “eDrive” as BMW touts it.

We’re still talking a 125-kilowatt electric motor (170 horsepower). 

Battery specs weren’t given, and no hard number was stated for the i3’s range, but BMW did say that “key features like lightweight design (and) use of innovative materials” – most of the components are made of aluminum – “increase the driving range of the BMW i3 Concept.” Previously that range had been given at 90 miles on a full charge.

* Pete Danko, EarthTechling