22.2.2011 BMW launch low-emission sub-brand 'i'
BMW have confirmed two models to be launched in 2013 under the new sub-brand 'BMW i' following product development relating to sustainable mobility solutions.
The new BMW i brand will penetrate the electric vehicle market in 2013 with the release of the BMW i3 and i8 models, two all-electric vehicles that will feature distinctively new design characteristics.
These will be the first vehicles from BMW's i initiative to reach full production following several years of R&D. The initial project developed as part of 'Project i' was the MINI E, unveiled at the Los Angeles Motor Show in 2008. Based on lessons learned from the MINI trials, BMW announced the launch of the Active E all-electric vehicle into certain markets for 2011.
The i3 is an incarnation of the former Mega City Vehicle, and will be BMW's first series produced all-electric vehicle. Meanwhile, the i8 is based upon the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study – it will be a plug-in hybrid that blends sports car performance attributes with the fuel consumption figures of a small city car. BMW say that the i range will expand after the initial vehicles have been launched.
The i range will offer visionary cars and services, inspiring designs and an entirely new concept of premium sustainable mobility to satisfy the changing needs of future generations. Consumer desire for alternative, efficient transport is growing rapidly, and BMW believe that they can fulfil any requirements.
Both the new i models have been designed and manufactured using cutting edge innovation and skills. Lightweighting has had a major part to play – powertrains are housed in aluminium chassis and the passenger cells consist 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," explains Klaus Draeger, BMW Board member responsible for development.
Both the i3 and the i8 will be manufactured at BMW's Leipzig plant in Germany, stimulating an investment into new plant facilities costing around 400 million euros and creating some 800 new jobs up to 2013. Development and production synergies will be achieved through both vehicles using the same component sets for the electric motors, power electronics, and high-voltage lithium-ion batteries.
The company is also forming partnerships with other companies to keep its customers well connected, a perfect example being 'My City Way'. This mobile application keeps you up to speed with information on parking availability, public transport and local entertainment for over 40 cities in the USA. Another 40 (as yet unnamed) cities will be part of the global rollout, according to BMW.
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