BMW has announced the creation of a new eco sub-brand, BMW i, with two new models to be equipped with electric and plug-in hybrid drive systems from 2013.
Production of the first two ‘i’ models, the i3 and i8 (otherwise known as the MegaCity and Vision EfficientDynamics), will start in 2013 in Leipzig, which is BMW’s center of competence for no-emission or low-emission electric drive vehicles.
The group said it had created BMW i Ventures, a New York-based venture capital unit to “significantly expand its range of mobility services over the years ahead,” with an initial investment that is to total $100 million (73 million euros).
The venture company’s first partnership is with US-based My City Way, a mobile app that offers a portal with location-based services and city guides for 40 US cities. Forty more international cities—including Munich—will soon be added.
It’s a new day in our industry; a new era for individual mobility. This is BMW i – Born Electric.” said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Marketing, in Munich on Monday.
BMW will invest around €530 million and create more than 1,000 jobs, together with its joint-venture partner SGL Carbon SE, as part of its plan to launch the new BMW i3 vehicle and start producing carbon-fiber components to reduce the vehicle’s weight.
BMW’s Leipzig plant alone will account for 800 new jobs and investment of €400 million by 2013.
BMW has named SB LiMotive, a joint venture between Samsung SDI and Robert Bosch GmbH, as the battery supplier for the new car.
BMW’s forthcoming electric car, the i3, and the plug-in hybrid i8 will have lightweight bodies composed of an aluminum chassis and a passenger cell made of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic.
The company said use of the material would offset almost entirely the weight of the batteries.