It's been an odd development over the past few years, but car manufacturers are now among the biggest exhibitors at CES. With giant and massively expensive booths you'll find Sony and Samsung along with Ford and Audi. BMW, too, has a huge presence at CES 2014, taking up the entirety of the parking lot outside the south hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. They built an exhibition center to show off the technology that's gone into their electric "i" sub-brand.
Right now there are just two vehicles in that i sub-brand, the i3 and the i8. Both are impressive vehicles, but the i3 was the one that BMW really wanted to show off at CES. The car is a tiny one, seating four in a relatively small space. It's something that's been made possible thanks to the electric drive, which places the battery pack and the small electric motor below the floor.
With a range that tops out at 100 miles when you take it easy on the accelerator, the i3 isn't meant for long-haul trips. There is an optional "range extender" gas-powered generator that can be added to the i3, adding another 80 miles of range. Though unlike a traditional hybrid, the gas engine is purely used to power an electric generator to top off the battery. Or you can plug the i3 into a 240-volt charger and be up to 90% in 30 minutes.