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While rumors of the new BMW sub-brand have been floating around for months, February 21st has been marked as the official announcement date for details the sub-brand, and the apparently revolutionary MegaCity electric vehicle.
Many suggest that the new sub-brand will be a re-imagining of the Isetta microcar of nearly a half century ago, and use some of the advanced materials that the Megacity also uses. Smaller internal combustion engines are a possibility, with the MegaCity setting itself apart by using the all electric drivetrain used in the BMW ActiveE.
After the Second World War, BMW produced a city car that was cheap and compact, and it was called the Isetta.
Since then the company has gone onto create bigger and better machines, but it seems that BMW wants to go back into the city car business.
For the past year, rumors have been circulating the internet about a possible return of the Isetta, albeit in a rather more conventional and safer form. Now it seems that BMW is closer than ever to produce their city car and according to the e90.com forum, the German automaker has filed a registered trademark for i1, i2, i3, i4, i5, i6, i7, i8, i9.
Why so many names? Just to protect itself and prevent another car company from having a similar name.
BMW execs have already confirmed the Megacity car will launch in 2013 in Europe as the first mass produced car to use a carbon fiber shell. They’ve even released sketches of what it will look like (above).
The Ultimate Driving Machine is set to introduce the ultimate commuter vehicle, as BMW announced Wednesday that its new Megacity electric car will launch in 2013. BMW’s Megacity is set to be a revolutionary design, featuring a carbon monocoque chassis (similar to the McLaren F1 supercar), a rear-engine layout and aerodynamic exterior styling with carbon fiber bodypanels.
The light weight, Golf-sized Megacity should get an estimated range of 160 miles from its electric motor, and feature an aggressive regenerative braking system to help maintain battery life in stop and go traffic. BMW is also planning to sell the car complete with a battery pack, unlike other manufacturers, who have frequently voiced concerns that batteries must be leased due to their propensity to wear out significantly over time.
The Megacity should also help amortize costs of expensive technologies like battery-powered drivetrains and carbon fiber structural elements, enabling them to trickle down to mass-produced models without adding a hefty premium to the MSRP.
Gasoline and Electric Versions Planned
According to a report in U.K.-Mag AutoExpress, MINI and BMW are currently working with Fiat to develop several new cars, including a new light-weight MINI model that will have its engine out back.
That’s right, the new car will be a small four-seater with as long a wheelbase as the body will allow – giving the new model a safe and stable ride as well as a gripping driving experience. It will also feature plenty of glass up front and on the sides, making visibility as ideal as possible.
The car will use both aluminum and composite materials (like carbon fiber) for a light weight chassis and may come with plastic bodywork, like that found on SMART models.
An electric model is also planned with the batteries located under the floor and individual electric motors powering each wheel. Apparently the technology will be similar to that which is currently being tested in the MINI E.
A concept of this new MINI is expected at the Frankfurt Auto Show this Fall, although this story could change significantly throughout the year. AutoExpress reports that this new vehicle will be a small urban vehicle and yet continually refers to it as a flagship of the MINI line – seemingly contradictory comments.
This partnership between BMW and Fiat will also bring about the return of two other famous automotive names, the Fiat Topolino and the BMW Isetta.
GALLERY: MINI Concept