The BMW Group will bring its first series-production electric-drive model to market with its launch of the Megacity Vehicle in 2013.
The Megacity Vehicle will be a zero-emission urban car for the world's metropolitan regions. It is currently being developed as part of project i and will be available from 2013 under a sub-brand of BMW.
"With this innovative vehicle, designed from the ground up, we will be creating new benchmarks for electric mobility from 2013 on. Our Megacity Vehicle will be significantly lighter than conventional cars and, in terms of sustainability, will set a new standard across the entire value-added chain," Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, said.
Weight plays a pivotal role in the range achievable by electrically driven vehicles, so the Megacity Vehicle will include the ultra-light, high-strength composite carbon fibre-reinforced plastic in its materials mix.
"This vehicle will radically alter the motor industry as we know it. The BMW Group is currently the only company that will be launching a volume-production vehicle on the market that features carbon fibre-reinforced material," Reithofer explained.
The BMW Group has been gleaning insights into the day-to-day use of electric vehicles since mid-2009, when it launched a global field test involving more than 600 MINI E models. During the test phase some 50 MINI E cars are also being delivered to customers in China in 2010.
"I am convinced that our Chinese clients will show the same enthusiasm for the vehicle as MINI E drivers in Germany, the USA and Britain," Reithofer said.
In 2011, more Chinese customers will be introduced to fleet vehicles based on the BMW Concept ActiveE. The renowned China Automotive Technology and Research Center and the state-owned energy supply company State Grid are involved as partners in the preparation, implementation and assessment of the practical use of these vehicles. The project has the backing of both the Chinese and the German governments.
The results will filter into the development of electrically powered vehicles for the Chinese market. "In the future we will also be offering a New Energy Vehicle in China. This will be developed and produced locally together with our joint venture partner Brilliance," Reithofer said.