BMW launches eco sub-brand
Two models will be launched under the new sub-brand from 2013 – the BMW i3 and BMW i8.
The BMW i3 – previously known as the Megacity Vehicle – will be the BMW Group’s first series-produced car for urban areas to be driven solely by electric power.
The BMW i8, meanwhile, is based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study shown at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. It will blend the sporting ability of a high-performance car with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small model.
Both models are based on the "LifeDrive" architecture. An aluminium chassis houses the powertrain, and the passenger cell consists of high-strength but extremely lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP).
'Both cars have been designed specifically for their respective alternative drive systems. We used the innovative architecture and CFRP to cancel out practically all of the extra weight added by the batteries. For our customers this means superior driving dynamics combined with significantly increased range using electric power,' said Klaus Draeger, BMW Board member responsible for development.
The two models will be manufactured at BMW’s Leipzig plant, with some component crossover on the electric motors, power electronics, and high-voltage lithium-ion batteries. Around €400 million will be invested in new plant facilities and some 800 jobs will be created up to 2013.
The BMW Group will also significantly expand its range of mobility services over the years ahead. To achieve this, a venture capital company, BMW i Ventures, has been set up in New York City. BMW has invested up to $100 million in the company, which will look to expand BMW i's products and services in the long term by taking stakes in highly innovative service providers.
These include New York-based My City Way, which has become the first company that BMW i Ventures has taken a stake in. The My City Way mobile app provides users with information on public transportation, parking availability, and local entertainment for over 40 cities in the US and is set to be rolled out across another 40 cities globally.