|Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG at the BMW Group Future Mobility Night 2010 in Beijing. A Concept ActiveE is in the background. Click to enlarge.|
The BMW Group will launch its Megacity Vehicle in 2013, said Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, on Thursday ahead of the Auto China 2010 show in Beijing. The Megacity Vehicle will be the Group’s first series-production electric-drive model on the market.
The Megacity Vehicle is currently being developed as part of project i and will be available under a sub-brand of BMW. BMW is focusing on lightweight materials for the vehicle, given the pivotal role weight plays in the range achievable by electrically driven vehicles. Ultra-light and high-strength composite CFRP (carbon fibre-reinforced plastic) will play a significant part in the materials mix, the company said.
Earlier this month, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC, the joint venture between SGL Group and BMW Group, announced it will build a carbon fibre manufacturing plant in Moses Lake, WA. The fibres manufactured at Moses Lake will be used exclusively for the Megacity Vehicle. (Earlier post.)
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.
The BMW Group has been gathering 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.
2011 will see the handover to Chinese customers of a further fleet based on the BMW Concept ActiveE, a concept EV based on the 1 Series. (Earlier post.) The China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) 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.