With the launch of the Megacity Vehicle in 2013, the BMW Group will be bringing its first series-production electric-drive model to market. The Megacity Vehicle will be a zero-emission urban car for the world’s metropolitan regions. It is currently being developed as part of project i and will be available from 2013 under a sub-brand of BMW.
With the MINI E field trial now at the end of the second half, BMW Group has had the opportunity to analyze the first three months of the period, and to present its findings. The main results of this study involving electrical cars will help BMW Group draw out the specs and operating characteristics of the Megacity vehicle.
On this occasion, Iain Gray, Chief Executive of The Technology Strategy Board made some interesting points regarding BMW’s future strategy in this respect. BMW Group is continuing down the path of mobility, sustainability and efficiency.
After developing highly efficient traditional powerplants and introducing also hybrids in the game, BMW Group is now aiming at building a fully electric vehicle, the Megacity Vehicle (MCV).
As Iain Gray declared, “The Megacity Vehicle (MCV) combines all of BMW Group’s expertise in lightweight engineering, electric drive technology and dynamic driving characteristics in one unique, ground-breaking vehicle.”
The electrical nature of the vehicle allowed BMW engineers to rethink the entire car architecture. Hence, they came up with the revolutionary LifeDrive concept that consists of two horizontally separated, independent modules: Drive and Life. The Drive module – the chassis – integrates the battery, drive system and structural and crash functions into a single construction. The Life module consists primarily of a high-strength and extremely lightweight passenger cell made from Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastics (CFRP).
Moreover, this new architecture of the vehicle enables new production processes, which are simpler and more flexible, and use less energy, as BMW mentioned.
The use of carbon fiber will ensure both strength and light to the construction, and will reduce the weight of the car by 250 to 350kg – the equivalent weight of the batteries.
BMW believes that the Megacity vehicle will be the first volume-produced automobile to employ the significant benefits afforded by carbon technology. In the meantime, the design and development process of the MCV will be influenced by the findings of the MINI E field trial.
We believe that an MCV concept will most likely be unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show, followed by the first production model in 2012.