BMW's New 'i' Brand to Roll Out 2 Electric Vehicles in 2013
In a sign of the coming wave of electric vehicles, luxury carmaker BMW has announced it will roll out two electric vehicles in 2013 under a new sub-brand known simply as "i."
The two new BMW i models, dubbed the i3 and i8, derive from concept studies conducted by the German automaker.
The i3's progenitor is the all-electric, compact, big-wheeled Megacity Concept vehicle that is intended for use in urban areas – the natural home for pure electric vehicles, the best of which currently have a range of about 100 miles (160 kilometers) per charge.
The i8, for its part, comes from BMW's Vision EfficientDynamics concept car, and will be a plug-in hybrid sports vehicle akin to the Fisker Karma.
Lithium-ion cells , the battery of choice for electric vehicles, will power both cars.
To cut down on weight, the vehicles will use what BMW calls LifeDrive architecture, which consists of an aluminum chassis and a body made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).
"We used the innovative architecture and CFRP to cancel out practically all of the extra weight added by the batteries," said Klaus Draeger, a BMW board member, in a statement. "For our customers, this means superior driving dynamics combined with significantly increased range using electric power."
There's no word yet on the selling price for the vehicles, and most details remain under wraps. Intriguingly, however, Car and Driver reports that BMW has trademarked the names i1 through i9, and e1 through e9 as well, so it's likely that the giant German auto manufacturer intends to introduce a whole line of electric vehicles somewhere down the road.