Monday, December 20, 2010

BMW Investing in EVs

BMW designers, engineers, and production line workers are working on a new generation of EVs. BMW has announced it will invest about US$560 million in electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing that will lead to a broader range of EVs.

BMW's hybrid strategy was initiated as “The Vision Efficient Dynamics model” first displayed at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2009.

BMW's investments in EVs will create about 800 jobs at their Leipzig plant. By 2013, what BMW describes as its "Mega City Vehicle" will begin rolling off assembly lines. BMW has indicated that it may launch this Megacity electric car under a new brand vision. BMW expects sales for the Megacity will be “sizable” and the model will cost less than 60,000 euros.

The company is designing the Megacity as an electric-only car, saying that a distinct architecture is necessary for battery-powered driving. In addition to 400 million euro for the expansion activities at the company’s Leipzig factory, 530 million euro will be dedicated to a new carbon-fiber facility.

BMW and SGL Carbon SE, the world’s biggest manufacturer of carbon and graphite products, are building a $100 million factory in Moses Lake, Washington, to make the material for the Megacity models. The company claims that the carbon-fiber is employed to enhance the safety aspects, much found in Formula 1 race cars.

The BMW hybrid supercar, is a carbon-fiber, 4-seater with upward opening doors. The car's power-plant include a 3-cylinder diesel engine and twin electric motors. BMW may use a gasoline engine in markets like China and the U.S., where diesel engines aren’t popular.

BMW is scheduled to release its hybrid super car in 2013, this vehicle has an emission rate of 99gms of carbon dioxide/km and CO2 emissions reductions of 30%/km. With a 0 - 100km time of 4.8sec, there is no compromise in the car's performance. The hybrid supercar accelerates as fast as BMW's, 500 bhp V-10 engine powered, M6 supercar.

The car will be priced below the company’s Rolls-Royce models. Dr Norbert Reithofer, the CEO of the company disclosed that the BMW hybrid super car is intended to fill the need for enviro-care.

Reithofer defended its relatively slow development of EVs, by explaining that the move to electric power requires a "radical" redesign. Reithofer predicted that the sale volume of BMW's cars would increase to 2 million in another decade from the current 1.4 million units.

The carmaker targets “significant” sales volumes for the Vision Efficient Dynamics and will make it available on all major markets

BMW's first hybrid supercar is part of a broader effort to create more fuel- efficient vehicles.

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