The electrification of BMW is well under way.
A German film crew was recently caught shooting video of an electric 1-Series car in the East Bay hills of the San Francisco area. The way the crew swarmed to block the car when they saw an iPhone “assume the position” to grab a snapshot gave many cause to believe something was definitely up in that regard.
And now comes word of a 400 million Euro investment to upgrade the company’s Leipzig factory to enable the large-scale production of electric cars. Ostensibly stated to produce BMW’s upcoming Megacity vehicle, the announcement was, perhaps not coincidentally, followed by another one, outlining plans to also produce a streetable version of the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics plug-in hybrid sports car concept.
Built primarily of carbon fiber to save weight, the Megacity car, Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG says; “…will be the world’s first volume-produced car with a passenger compartment made from lightweight CFRP (carbon fiber-reinforced polymer), as less weight enables a longer range." Details on the powertrain have yet to be released, but while expected to be larger than a MINI, the Megacity car will be the smallest BMW on the market when it is introduced in 2013.
The BMW Vision EfficientDynamics plug-in hybrid concept is a 2+2 sports car, powered by a 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine with electric motors on the front and rear axles. The powertrain boasts 328 horsepower and is powered by a lithium-polymer battery in addition to diesel fuel. With its 6.3-gallon fuel tank, range is quoted at 434 miles.
Intended to be an image leader for BMW’s push into higher efficiency—while still maintaining the dynamic performance for which the Munich-based concern’s product are notable—Mr. Reithofer says, “We have given Efficient Dynamics a face. The message is: Sustainable mobility can be at least as exciting as conventional mobility–if you get the best engineers and the best designers together to develop the best result.”
The smart money is betting this will result in a variant of the next generation 6-Series coupe. A well-placed source within BMW says look for it in 2014.