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BMW introduces new i sub-brand, first two vehicles i3 and i8; premium mobility services and new venture capital company

Announcement of the i sub-brand in Germany. The final look of the i3 and i8 has yet to be shown. Click to enlarge.

BMW introduced its new sub-brand, BMW i, along with announcement of production of the first two i models: the i3 (the battery-electric Megacity Vehicle, earlier post) and the i8 (the production version of the plug-in hybrid Vision Efficient Dynamics concept, earlier post). Production will start in 2013 in Leipzig, which is BMW’s center of competence for no-emission or low-emission electric drive vehicles.

Using the i-brand tagline “born electric”, Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing, said at the rollout in Munich that the new i sub-brand combines “what is good for us with what is good for the planet”.

BMW also announced an increased focus on premium mobility services, including car-independent, location-based mobility services. The company will build on the widespread use of mobile devices to assist people in urban areas.

BMW will focus on four areas to deliver a premium mobility services solution in real-time using location-based information:

  • Better use of existing space (e.g., intelligent parking solutions).
  • Smart navigation, using real-time traffic information.
  • Intermodal travel solutions, including cars and public transport.
  • Premium car sharing.

BMW intends to benefit from (a) generating a profit from the services themselves, and (b) by introducing people to the BMW Group through these services. “Premium services users may become premium customers.”

To support the move into this area, BMW has established BMW i Ventures, a venture capital company based in New York City. The venture company’s first partnership is with US-based My City Way, a mobile app that offers a portal with location-based services and city guides for 40 US cities. Forty more international cities—including Munich—will soon be added.



Wow! I never thought that extreme hybrid would get built! It will be fascinating to see the specs of the production model.


Dear BMW your customers wait for an iX6 or better an iX4. Please Stop working on i3 and i8 gadgets for the press. Start designing "real cars" with all-electric Plug-In-Hybrid drive train, and an extended range generator on top of that, and a good battery >50KVH providing a 200M all electric range.
I need to replace my beloved BMW 535DA within 1 year, 2 maxi. I'll buy nothing else than an SUV this time, but want a car of the future as always, like a BMW Volt in an X6/X4 SUV formfactor.
.... Or I'll buy the Volt SUV when it comes out, if you leave me no other choice and if you continue with your meaningless 1st Gen Hybrids / Power-Hybrids forever (Those pulling nothing, just adding un-efficient add-on electric devices and weight and complexity and costs on top of the old staff).

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