BMW renames Megacity Vehicle i3; Calls new electric car sub-brand 'i'

BMW launched its much anticipated “BMW i” sub-brand this week, a range of pure EVs and hybrids made from carbon fiber and aluminum.
Written by Ami Cholia, Contributing Editor
BMW i3, previously known as Megacity Vehicle

BMW has finally named its new sub-brand for forthcoming electric vehicles (all-electric and plug-in hybrids): BMW i.

The range will be launched with two new models -- the all-electric BMW i3, previously known as the Megacity Vehicle, which will primarily be an urban car, and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid with a longer range and more power. Both cars will be available in 2013.

Additional BMW i vehicles will follow, company executives said at a press conference.

Aesthetically, BMW’s new plug-in vehicles will keep the company’s kidney-shaped grill design (though redundant since there's no airflow), and will also add an i logo,  and a blue ring around the edges of the BMW roundel to denote the i sub-brand.

Obviously, the company seems to be targeting a younger, affluent customer who is also environmentally conscious.

Though not much information has been released about the cars specifically,  the four-seat i3 EV hatchback will be built with BMW’s “LifeDrive” structure, that uses lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum to help boost efficiency. The lightweight materials essentially mitigate the weight of the battery pack. The powertrain, from what we know, will be similar to the second-generation electric drive system used in the BMW ActiveE hybrid  -- and is speculated to produce 134 horsepower.

“The BMW i8, meanwhile, is based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study. Its plug-in hybrid drive blends the sporting ability of a high-performance machine with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car,” the company said in a statement.

The company promises that the i8 will go from 0-60 mph in about five seconds, and still maintain fuel-efficiency.

The cars will also have location based applications on board (think smart phone apps in your car) that will allow drivers to get information like where to find parking, smart navigation, car sharing etc. BMW has already created BMW i Ventures - a New York based venture-capital fund to work with tech start-ups offering these services.

In fact, you won't even need to own a BMW to use the car's mobility services. While there isn't a price tag attached yet, I would suspect you'd need plenty of money in the bank to buy one of these.

Either way, it's a pretty slick way to drive.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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