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BMW has confirmed that it will launch a new sub-brand of fuel efficient vehicles under the ‘i’ badge. Representing the greener side of the automaker’s portfolio, the i branded vehicles will focus on “sustainable vehicles and mobility solutions.”
Set to hit the market in 2013, the first two models in the i lineup will be the i3 and i8. The i3 (an indication that this will be the projected volume model) will be the production version of the BMW MegaCity, which will use an entirely carbon fiber chassis. As for the i8, it is expected to be the production version of the Efficient Dynamics Concept car and use hybrid technology to achieve incredible performance.
Expect more from BMW on the i brand at the Geneva Auto Show. Until then, check out more of the teasers below.
GALLERY: BMW i
Ahead of the Geneva show, BMW has unveiled their first electric vehicle, the ActiveE: a 1-Series coupe that’s good for 170 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque, and 100 miles on a single charge.
This gives the ActiveE a 0-60 time good for nine seconds. And BMW says the batteries can be fully charged in four to five hours through a standard wall outlet, with a rapid charger. The batteries decrease cargo space by approximately 3 cu. feet, but interior changes are minimal, and it can still seat four adults.
Against a regular 1-Series, the ActiveE sports bright white paint, circuit board graphics along its flanks, a goofy “power bulge” hood, and low-resistance wheels and tires. And that’s about it. The ActiveE’s powertrain is supposed to preview the futuristic Megacity concept that BMW will launch in 2013; call this a sneak preview, then, without the carbon fiber body or Blade Runner styling. Which is the idea BMW is promoting behind the ActiveE: a production-ready car that packs the drivetrain of the future, but doesn’t look like it does.
It will go on sale in select markets and cities including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, New York, Boston and in Connecticut. Production is slated at over 1,000 units.
BMW has just released the first teaser sketches of its Megacity electric vehicle, which it claims will be the first mass-produced car to use complete carbon fiber construction. That’s right, not only will the body panels be made of the light-weight carbon fiber weave, but so will the entire structure. Up until now, the only vehicles that use such a light-weight and expensive chassis are the McLaren MP4-12C, the Lexus LFA and the Aston Martin One-77.
The use of carbon fiber will allow BMW engineers to keep weight to a minimum, which is important as electric batteries tend to be very heavy. The current setup BMW is working with includes an electric motor with just over 100 kilowatts (roughly 134-hp). Top speed for the car will be limited to 93 mph. As an urban commuter, BMW is looking to design the car with maximum range, rather than speed.
Interestingly, BMW is planning to use an aggressive regenerative braking system, similar to the one found in the MINI E. As a result, the car will slow significantly when the operator lets off the accelerator, allowing the Megacity to be driven mostly with just the gas pedal.
BMW is preparing to launch its innovative new electric car in 2013.
GALLERY: BMW Megacity
For the complete BMW release that makes War & Peace look like a kids book, see after the jump:
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.
Electric city car, plus a front-drive 3-cylinder in the plans
BMW is planning to bring two new small cars to market that will slot in under the current 1 Series, by 2014. According to Auto Motor und Sport, the first model is an electric city car (that BMW has already said is coming), which will use the electric motor shown in the ActiveE Concept (shown above) at the Detroit Auto Show. It is expected to be called the Megacity.
The second model is to be powered by a range of three-cylinder engines and a hybrid version is also a possibility. Interestingly, unlike other BMWs, this new small car is likely to be front-wheel drive. BMW is said to be looking at building a new front-drive platform in-house, but is also engaged in talks with other automakers to purchase a front drive platform from them, weighing both alternatives to see which is more cost effective. BMW has been rumored to be speaking with Toyota about using the iQ underpinnings.
With Audi set to unveil the new A1 premium small car at the Geneva Auto Show this year and Mercedes working on a whole line of new small car (including a new A-Class and B-Class) for 2013, BMW hopes to have its new premium city car ready to hit the market before 2014.
[Source: Auto Motor und Sport]