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Megacity Vehicle to launch in 2013Munich / Beijing, )
The Megacity Vehicle will be a zeroemission 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 subbrand of BMW. When it comes to the choice of materials, the company is broaching entirely new territory. This is because weight plays a pivotal role in the range achievable by electrically driven vehicles. The ultralight yet highstrength composite CFRP (carbon fibrereinforced plastic), for example, plays a significant part in the materials mix.
"This vehicle will radically alter the motor industry as we know it. The BMW Group is currently the only company that will be launching a volumeproduction vehicle on the market that features carbon fibrereinforced material," explained Reithofer. "We were among the first manufacturers to pick up on the trend towards electric mobility and to act accordingly. More and more people around the globe are very keen on electric driving. Research shows, moreover, that more than half of the population around the world already live in conurbations," Reithofer added.
The BMW Group has been gleaning insights into the daytoday use of electric vehicles since mid-2009, when it launched a global field test involving more than 600 MINI E models. During the test phase some 50 MINI E cars are also being delivered to customers in China in 2010.
"I am convinced that our Chinese clients will show the same enthusiasm for the vehicle as MINI E drivers in Germany, the USA and Britain," emphasised Reithofer. 2011 will see the handover to Chinese customers of a further fleet based on the BMW Concept ActiveE. The renowned China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) and the stateowned energy supply company State Grid are involved as partners in the preparation, implementation and assessment of the practical use of these vehicles. The project has the backing of both the Chinese and the German governments.
The results will filter into the development of electrically powered vehicles for the Chinese market. "In the future we will also be offering a New Energy Vehicle in China. This will be developed and produced locally together with our joint venture partner Brilliance," stated Reithofer.
BMW gathered its first experiences with electricdrive vehicles some 40 years ago courtesy of a modified BMW 1602 that led the longdistance walking and marathon running events in the 1972 Summer Olympics. In subsequent decades this alternative drive technology was further pursued using many mobile test beds, including the revolutionary BMW E1.
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