Project i is long-term commitment by the German automaker BMW to develop a number of solutions for congested city motoring. It was 2007 when we first heard rumors around this ultra-secret project initiated by BMW. It was initially thought that BMW had to start the Research and Development of a new extremely efficient car due to a California State regulation which stipulates that large auto makers will have to sell between a few hundred and a few thousand Zero Emission Vehicle every year starting in 2012.
But with the recent economic downturn BMW had to reposition itself for the future and accelerated the development of Project i cars. In the past months, we have seen their first true solution of a Zero Emission Vehicle with the launch of MINI E, the first all-electric powered vehicle coming out of their plants. The BMW EfficientDynamics program is well represented by the new BMW 116d which offers combined consumption of 64.2mpg and a CO2 emissions figure of 118g/km.
Project i has been designed to run independently of BMW under the direct supervision of BMW’s CEO, Herr Norber Reithofer which has given his full attention to this commitment. The first issue which was reported by us in the past was whether there may be a two and even three-wheeled vehicles coming and the second issue and a very important one, was whether these new vehicles will carry the BMW badge, be part of the MINI line-up or a completely new brand(Isetta was the most talked about).In a recent development, we learned that the first prototypes of the MegaCity Vehicle are being reffered to as the MINI-i. These prototypes will feature gasoline engines developed in collaboration with the Motorrad division specific for these type of cars. The MINI-i might also utilize the hybrid technology, but our sources have not confirmed the existence of a prototype yet.
The “Project i” models will be geared towards mega-cities, such as NYC, London, Tokyo, Mexico City and many others, cities in desperate need of vehicles that can solve some of the traffic congestion issues. Even though at one point BMW was looking for an engineering firm that will help them develop the vehicles, BMW confirmed that they will be built by them in Germany at BMW factories , no outsourcing is being considered. The first Project i vehicles available for the general public will be available in 2015.