A BMW concept car shown at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. Photo: Michael Graham Richard
E-AutobahnThe German luxury car maker BMW announced today that it will invest 400 million euros (about 560 million dollars) by 2013 to develop and produce an electric model. The teutonic company already has some experience with EVs, but it's mostly conversions of existing models like the Mini E or concept cars for Auto Show (like the one above). No electric cars designed from the ground up to run on electrons with the intent of mass-production. But that's about to change...
Photo: Wikipedia, Creative Commons
BMW doesn't want to be left behind in the EV market. Even if it takes a few years for significant numbers to be sold, it also takes a long time to develop the expertise and production capacity, so now's the time to lay the ground work.
BMW has begun to extend its plant in the eastern city of Leipzig in a project launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to produce a series model auto it has dubbed Megacity. Norbert Reithofer, head of BMW, said in a statement that the car would be "the first production model with a carbon fibre passenger compartment." BMW formed a joint venture last year with SGL Carbon, a German specialist in the material that is mostly used at present in sports cars owing to its strong resistance, light weight, and high cost.
That's one of BMW's advantages; being in the luxury market, it has higher margins on its cars so it can use more cutting edge technologies like carbon fiber (a great way to reduce overall vehicle weight).
We don't have details yet on what kind of car it will be and what kind of specs to expect, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was similar to a BMW 5 series.
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