For years enthusiasts have been complaining that BMW and MINI need to make cars lighter. Today the BMW Group is giving us its answer. The hope of the megacity program (which will likely result in an eventual MINI branded product) is to do nothing short of redefine mobility while taking a HUGE leap ahead of the competition. The Megacity range will be the first volume vehicle to use Carbon Fiber in the passenger cell. Previously this was only seen on race cars and super cars such as the Mclaren F1.
If that is not revolutionary we don’t know what is. One other note related to the MINI. The project leader on Megacity is none other than Ulrich Kranz, the man who led BMW”s team that revived the MINI brand in 2001.
For a detail by detail account of the MCV please see here.
Official Release: The BMW Group is once again breaking new ground with the Megacity Vehicle (MCV), due to come onto the market in 2013: â€œThe Megacity Vehicle is a revolutionary automobile. It will be the worldâ€™s first volume-produced vehicle with a passenger cell made from carbon. Our LifeDrive architecture is helping us to open a new chapter in automotive lightweight design. Indeed, this concept allows us to practically offset the extra 250 to 350 kilograms of weight typically found in electrically powered vehicles.â€ says Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board of Management for Development.[nggallery id=27]
â€œThe drive system remains the heartbeat of a car, and that also applies to electric vehicles,â€ said Draeger. â€œPowertrains also remain a core area of expertise of Bayerische Motoren Werke. Electromobility and the hallmark BMW driving pleasure make an excellent match, if you go about things the right way. For this reason we are developing the powertrain for the Megacity Vehicle in-house â€“ that includes the electric motor, the power electronics and the battery system.â€
The electrification of a vehicle requires new concepts in vehicle architecture and body construction in order to exploit the potential of the new emission-free drive system to optimum effect. With the revolutionary LifeDrive concept, the BMW Group engineers are developing the carâ€™s architecture from scratch and adapting it to the demands and conditions of future mobility. The goal: to offset the additional weight of an electric vehicle â€“ typically 250 to 350 kilograms. To this end, the BMW Group is focusing on the innovative high-tech material carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).
The LifeDrive concept consists of two horizontally separated, independent modules. The Drive module integrates the battery, drive system and structural and crash functions into a single construction within the chassis. Its partner, the Life module, consists primarily of a high-strength and extremely lightweight passenger cell made from CFRP. Furthermore, the new vehicle architecture opens the door to totally new production processes which are both simpler and more flexible, and use less energy.
The BMW Group is also aiming to be the force behind the best drive systems over the years ahead â€“ systems boasting outstanding efficiency, performance and smoothness, even if it is electricity rather than fossil fuels that are converted into propulsion. To this end, the BMW Group is vigorously driving forward the technical development of electric powertrains. The BMW Groupâ€™s centre of expertise for electric drive systems brings together development, manufacturing and procurement specialists under one roof. All their efforts are focused on the implementation and typically BMW interpretation of the new generation of drive systems. Ultimately, electric vehicles not only provide a zero-local-emission and low-noise form of propulsion; their ability to deliver a totally new and extremely agile driving experience is also impressive.
The new architecture of the MCV also gives the vehicle designers additional freedom when it comes to creating a new aesthetic for sustainable urban mobility solutions.