German magazine Automobile Woche confirms some of our previous reports: the core of the Project i program, the Megacity Vehicle, or MCV as know internally, will debut in mid-2003 and will roll off the production line at the Leipzig plant. . The lightweight carbon parts needed for the MCV will be manufactured at Landshut and then shipped for assembly in Leipzig.
In contrast with our our initial reports, the Megacity Vehicle will be a sub-brand of BMW rather than an addition to other two brands in the BMW Group: MINI and Rolls Royce. Previous rumors were also mentioning the revival of the Isetta brand and therefore, a possible badging solution for the MCV, but we will continue to categorize them as simple speculations at the moment.
The MCV will be offered with several different engines, from high-efficient small gasoline powerplants to all-electric powertrains. So expect to see new three cylinder engines making their way into these city vehicles, a continuation of the Vision Concept previewed in Frankfurt. The three cylinder engines are also said to be developed together with the BMW Motorrad division.
BMW will continue to invest a lot of their resources into the Project i program and currently, BMW has a strong fleet of 600 MINI E vehicles running trials. The next iteration will be the BMW ActiveE model that was introduced in a concept form at the Detroit Auto Show.
For the Megacity vehicle, BMW has partnered up with SB LiMotive and SGL Carbon to utilize the latest innovation in battery technology field, respectively, the use of lightweight carbon parts .
The exterior dimensions of the car are said to be in the compact segment, similar to what MINI vehicles. With BMW’s latest modular platforms, it is expected to see several other bodystyles that are suitable for larger families or consumers requiring additional space.
According to our sources, BMW is currently testing the Megacity vehicles during private sessions at several testing facilities in Europe. We expect to see the first spy photos later this year and most likely, throughout entire 2011.