Since the release of its official strategy in September last year, media sources around the world have been speculating that BMW is looking at either launching its own new brand or acquiring one to help its expansion. CEO Norbert Reithofer previously revealed BMW would establish a new environmental think-tank dubbed ‘Project i’ to develop new eco-friendly models. Now, the carmaker’s board member for corporate and brand development, Friedrich Eichener, has told reporters a decision on a BMW electric vehicle would be made this year.

With the number of cities with ten million or more people set to rise in the near future, Eichiner explained to Automotive News that electric cars could be a good solution to meeting short-distance transportation requirements in urban areas.

Currently, BMW is researching several types of alternative fuels, most notably its hydrogen powered 7-series limo that managed to actually clean air going through the car. But with a lack of infrastructure for hydrogen fuel, simpler alternatives such as electric vehicles and biofuel usage are more likely to appeal to a mass market.

While a zero-emissions vehicle from BMW is still on the drawing board, BMW will be offering an ultra-clean 3-series model that should have emissions of less than 120g/km CO2 and will get a 100% refund on the London congestion charge.

BMW has been reluctant to adopt any one strategy in the race for lower emissions, with the manufacturer from Munich often adopting a wait-and-see attitude, as it did with HCCI technology. Whether or not BMW eventually does create an electric vehicle, the brand will have to bring in new technology to keep emissions down in line with toughening emissions laws in various regions around the globe.