Thursday November 18th, 2010 10:52 BMW Invests in the Future of EV

BMW Megacity Vehicle
BMW plans to invest €400m in large scale production of electric vehicles
Earlier this year, BMW introduced their all-electric MegaCity Vehicle or MCV, which will be available in 2013.

You may think that BMW is slow to follow the trend of announcing a production-ready all-electric car. And you would be somewhat correct. There has been a global field test since mid-2009 of 600 MINI E’s. The MINI E is BMW’s quick response to the demand for electric vehicles by modifying a MINI Cooper into an all-electric car, using lithium-ion batteries. The trial is still ongoing with the possibility of MINI E drivers leasing the cars for an extended period. BMW hopes to learn a great deal about electric cars and the viability of the concept in day-to-day use.

To that end and BMW’s future in electric cars, the auto maker has announced a €400m investment in its Leipzig, Germany, factory which will become the production hub for its future EV model lineup.

BMW contends that electric vehicles should be purpose-built and better suited to buyers needs. Just replacing a cars gasoline engine with an electric motor and batteries isn’t sufficient. BMW hopes the MegaCity Vehicle will become a sub-brand within the brand lineup.

“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,” said Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.

The additional investment in EV production will help BMW break some molds regarding vehicle production. Electric cars are inherently heavy due to the combination of batteries and electric motor or motors. BMW hopes to break new ground in vehicle production by using new, light weight materials, such as carbon fibre-reinforced plastic or CFRP.

“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 said.

We should know in the next few years if BMW’s investment in the future pays off.

Guest post by Andy Mrozinski,

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