MUNICH, GERMANY - Despite no official word yet, some say that BMW is developing an electric-powered minicar that should be ready by 2012, according to www.motortrend.com. BMW has chosen to develop the car alone rather than with a partner, but the automaker may base its new minicar on Magna Steyr’s MILA Alpin Concept, which was shown earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show, to save money and speed up development.
The platform could also be later adapted to develop a more traditional city car powered by an internal combustion engine, possibly one taken from a BMW motorcycle, to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen’s up!, Toyota’s iQ, and smart in Europe.
VW’s up! (which may end up being called Lupo) is expected to be sold worldwide and should arrive in either 2010 or 2011 as a family of vehicles that could eventually include electric and hydrogen fuel cell variants, according to www.motortrend.com. It’s possible that Volkswagen could build a version of the up! along the lines of what BMW is planning to fill its share of the ZEV requirement.
Toyota’s iQ minicar, on the other hand, is too small to fit a battery pack, but should be a solid competitor in a segment that is sure to grow as gas prices continue to rise. The iQ is likely to go on sale in 2009, but isn’t expected to come to the United States.