2009 BMW Concept ActiveE
BMW's plans for the future have been dramatic and decidedly high-tech of late, including the U.S.-bound 1-Series ActiveE and the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept, itself headed to production in the next few years. Today, BMW revealed the start of its plans for an all-electric car under the project name of the Megacity Vehicle.
Carbon fiber will play a large role in the car's construction, and accordingly it will be built by BMW in its Leipzig plant as a joint venture with SGL Carbon and SGL Automotive Fibers. Carbon fiber fabrics and carbon fiber reinforced plastics will help cut weight while maintaining rigidity to maximize the range and capacity of the Megacity EV.
Purists and enthusiasts that remember the days when BMW was focused almost exclusively on delivering the Ultimate Driving Machine may worry over the company's foray into electric cars, but if the likes of the X-series vehicles and the 5-Series GT haven't turned them off, it's possible the Megacity may point a new way forward for the combination of sport and sustainability. There's nothing fundamental stopping electric cars from being engaging, sporting and highly desirable, after all--Tesla's Roadster proves that, on a limited scale at least. Upcoming cars from Audi's e-tron range and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG also hold promise for the injection of fun into the electron stream of future cars.
But those same purists need not worry about dilution of the actual brand--any farther than it's already gone, anyway--because the Megacity will be launched as part of the company's Project i initiative, under a sub-brand of BMW. The car is due in the "first half of the decade," according to BMW, though some reports peg the first Project i car to be arriving as early as 2012.
For an idea of what the car may look like, check out our coverage of the BMW 1-Series ActiveE EV and be sure to catch the perspective from the greener side of the fence in John Voelcker's BMW Megacity article at GreenCarReports.