BMW plans 2 models under new sub-brand
Munich, May 20, 2012
The BMW Group will launch two models under a new sub-brand “BMW i” from 2013 – the BMW i3 and the BMW i8 – expanding the automaker’s range of premium mobility services.
“It’s a new day in our industry; a new era for individual mobility. This is BMW i – Born Electric.” said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Marketing, in Munich.
The products and services have been conceived around a revolutionary approach: purpose designed and purpose built for sustainable, premium mobility, a statement said.
BMW has founded a venture capital in New York City, BMW i Ventures, with an investment totalling $100 million.
“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, Robertson said.
“With BMW i, we are building on the success and strength of our core brand,” emphasised Robertson.
The BMW i3– previously known as the Megacity Vehicle – will be the BMW Group’s first series-produced car for urban areas to be driven by electric power alone. The BMW i8, meanwhile, is based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study. Its plug-in hybrid drive blends the sporting ability of a high-performance machine with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car.
Both models are based on a revolutionary construction concept known as LifeDrive architecture. An aluminium chassis houses the powertrain, and the passenger cell consists 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,” said Klaus Draeger, BMW Board member responsible for development.
Like the BMW i3, the BMW i8 will also be manufactured at BMW’s Leipzig plant. Around 400 million euros ($511 million) will be invested in new plant facilities and some 800 jobs will be created 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.
An additional range of mobility services – which can also be used independently of the cars – will be an integral component of BMW i. This will allow the creation of a new, profitable area of business over the long term and attract new customers to the company’s brands.
“Mobility requirements are changing in rapidly expanding megacities,” said Robertson. “Our commitment to car-enabled mobility services, like BMW ConnectedDrive, will be significantly expanded under BMW i. We’ll also grow our car-related premium mobility services.”
“What’s truly groundbreaking is that we’ll begin offering car-independent premium mobility services. BMW i aims to provide customized mobility solutions across a seamless network of premium products and premium services.”
The focus is on solutions which will improve usage of existing parking spaces, as well as intelligent navigation systems with local information, intermodal route planning, and premium car-sharing, he added. – TradeArabia News Service
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