German luxury automaker BMW unveiled its long awaited “BMW i” sub-brand on Monday, a line of battery-powered cars made of carbon fiber and aluminum.
– The new sub-brand will begin producing two lightweight models in the city of Leipzig in 2013.
– There is a new ‘i’ logo and BMW i models with have a blue outline surrounding the BMW roundel.
– BMW will invest about €400m ($547m) to make them at its plant in Leipzig.
“BMW i offers visionary cars and services, inspiring design, and an entirely new concept of premium mobility – all with a focus on sustainability”, explained Robertson.
The BMW i brand comprises vehicles and services developed since 2007 as part of project i, a BMW Group think tank exploring sustainable mobility solutions. It is the BMW Group’s response to changing customer needs, including increasing demand for alternative drive trains, such as electric drive systems and hybrids.
There is a widespread desire in megacities for solutions, which intelligently combine the benefits of various mobility concepts in a single package.
To that end, the BMW i3 (which was previously previewed as the Megacity Vehicle) will be BMW’s first mass-produced urban vehicle to be driven by electric power alone.
The i8 is a plug-in hybrid sportscar based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car first unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show in 2009. Like the i3, it will be launched in 2013.
“These cars have been designed specifically for their respective alternative drive systems,” said Klaus Draeger, head of BMW’s R&D operations. “We’re using an innovative architecture to cancel out practically all the extra weight of the batteries.”
Integration of technology
Alongside the new vehicle architecture, BMW are set to integrate a new range of mobility services into the sub-brand’s cars.
Able to be used independently of the cars, the systems will focus on improving usage of existing parking space, intelligent navigation with real time traffic information, intermodal route planning and premium car-sharing through a new partnership with the smart phone app, MY City Way.
Both of the new cars will be built at BMW’s Leipzig plant in Germany thanks to a 400 million euro ($543 million) investment, including the announcement of 800 new jobs.