At the BMW Museum, in a private setting for international automotive journalists, BMW unveiled tonight the first sketches of the 2013 BMW Megacity vehicle.
Introduced by the BMW Director of Design, Adrian Von Hooydonk, the Megacity vehicle is the “next premium” automobile and sub-brand to be introduced in the BMW family.
With countless hours and money invested in research and development, the new Megacity family will drive BMW into a new arena where they intend to become the world’s leader in premium electric vehicles.
The overall project goal of the Megacity and Project i program, is maximum sustainability: from the production process, starting with the first supplier, through to component recycling at the end of the vehicle life cycle, sustainability based on the three cornerstones of eco-friendliness, economic efficiency and social compatibility must be the main process driver.
“In the two and a half years working on this project I have learned more than in the previous eight.” (Peter Ratz).
According to Von Hooydonk, Megacity vehicle will look and drive as a premium product, and will not be a compromise between looks, performance and safety. The car looks solid, with a higher riding position that inspires safety.
Without getting into many details, Von Hooydonk mentioned that some iconic BMW design elements might be omitted in the MCV, but other new design elements will be introduced that in their turn, could turn the car into a sub-brand.
BMW Megacity is powered by a lithium-ion battery with 35 kWh of capacity placed below the vehicle’s floor. Rear-wheels approach remains in BMW’s philosophy and the power is sent to the rear wheels through a rear-mounted 150-hp electric motor. Driving range is expected to top at 100 miles and top speed at 95 mph.
Initially, the Megacity vehicles will be offered in a two-door, four-seat configuration. The car will measure around 157 inches. In the future, the MCV sub-brand will include two additional models. First one due in 2015 and dubbed ICV, short Intracity Vehicle, will be a two-door, two-seat car. In 2017, UCV – Urban Commuter Vehicle -will extend the length of the initial MCV and has four doors while hosting five people.
BMW engineers and product experts are confident that the limited range of electric-powered vehicles is not an issue. The results gathered from the MINI E field trials held in Berlin, Long, New York and Los Angeles, showed that the driving range of 250 kilometers was sufficient for urban driving. According to the same study, the average customer drives less than 50 kilometers every day and battery charging will not occur daily.
With still many questions to answer around branding, infrastructure and final design approval, Megacity Vehicle represents BMW’s bet for the future and a courageous plan to capture and dominate the premium electric vehicles segment.
An MCV concept will most likely be unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show.