Born Electric: BMW Officially Announces “BMW i”
Today is the day that BMW took the wraps off its biggest gamble to date. No it’s not a full car reveal. Actually much more grand and has greater implications than any single new model. The brand is BMW i and the idea is to rethink the car and the way we use our transportation infrastructure.
Along with the brand, BMW announced its plan to produce two cars under the i name. The i3 will be a fully electric three and five door hatch with a carbon fiber monocoque on an aluminum frame (yes body on frame is back). Pricing has yet to be even hinted at but we expect this to be a premium offering (ie high-end 3 Series territory). The i8 will also be much more premium costing more than $150,000. But it will have performance, design and engineering that will live up to that price. Likely very similar to the Vision concept that debuted at Frankfurt a year and a half ago, the car will likely redefine what a sports car is. With its three cylinder turbo diesel developing great power while being extremely efficient, the i8 will lead the brand.
Look for the BMW i8 to debut in 2013 and the i3 to follow it about a year later.
Official Release: The new BMW sub-brand focused on developing sustainable mobility solutions has been launched. â€œBMW i represents a new movement in premium mobility. With the introduction of this new sub-brand, the BMW Group reaffirms its leadership as the most innovative and sustainable premium car company. The products and services have been conceived around a revolutionary approach: purpose designed and purpose built for sustainable, premium mobility. Itâ€™s a new day in our industry; a new era for individual mobility. This is BMW i â€“ Born Electric.â€ said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Marketing, in Munich on Monday. (Official gallery and video after the break)
In a first move, two models will be launched under the new sub-brand from 2013 â€“ the BMW i3 and BMW i8. The BMW Group will also significantly expand its range of mobility services over the years ahead. To achieve this, a Venture Capital company was founded in New York City, BMW i Ventures, with an investment totalling up to 100 million US dollars.
â€œBMW i offers visionary cars and services, inspiring design, and an entirely new concept of premium mobility â€“ all with a focus on sustainabilityâ€, explained Robertson. The BMW i brand comprises vehicles and services developed since 2007 as part of project i, a BMW Group think tank exploring sustainable mobility solutions. It is the BMW Groupâ€™s response to changing customer needs, including increasing demand for alternative drive trains, such as electric drive systems and hybrids. There is a widespread desire in megacities for solutions which intelligently combine the benefits of various mobility concepts in a single package.
Revolutionary vehicle concepts
â€œWith BMW i, we are building on the success and strength of our core brand,â€ emphasised Robertson. The BMW i3â€“ previously known as the Megacity Vehicle â€“ will be the BMW Groupâ€™s first series-produced car for urban areas to be driven by electric power alone. The BMW i8, meanwhile, is based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study. Its plug-in hybrid drive blends the sporting ability of a high-performance machine with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car.
Both models are based on a revolutionary construction concept known as LifeDrive architecture. An aluminium chassis houses the powertrain, and the passenger cell consists of high-strength but extremely lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP). â€œBoth cars have been designed specifically for their respective alternative drive systems. We used the innovative architecture and CFRP to cancel out practically all of the extra weight added by the batteries. For our customers this means superior driving dynamics combined with significantly increased range using electric power,â€ explains Klaus Draeger, BMW Board member responsible for development.
BMW i8 to be built in Leipzig
Like the BMW i3, the BMW i8 will also be manufactured at BMWâ€™s Leipzig plant. Around 400 million euros will be invested in new plant facilities and some 800 jobs will be created up to 2013. Development and production synergies will be achieved through both vehicles using the same component sets for the electric motors, power electronics, and high-voltage lithium-ion batteries.
A range of vehicle-independent services
An additional range of mobility services â€“ which can also be used independently of the cars â€“ will be an integral component of BMW i. This will allow the creation of a new, profitable area of business over the long term and attract new customers to the companyâ€™s brands.
â€œMobility requirements are changing in rapidly expanding megacitiesâ€ adds Ian Robertson. â€œOur commitment to car-enabled mobility services, like BMW ConnectedDrive, will be significantly expanded under BMW i. Weâ€™ll also grow our car-related premium mobility services. Whatâ€™s truly groundbreaking is that weâ€™ll begin offering car-independent premium mobility services. BMW i aims to provide customized mobility solutions across a seamless network of premium products and premium services.â€ The focus is on solutions which will improve usage of existing parking spaces, as well as intelligent navigation systems with local information, intermodal route planning, and premium car-sharing.
In addition to services developed in-house, the BMW Group is pursuing collaborations with partner companies and exploring strategic capital investments in providers of mobility services. To this end, the venture capital company BMW i Ventures has the goal to expand the range of products and services offered by BMW i in the long term by taking stakes in highly innovative service providers.
New York-based My City Way is the first company in which BMW i Ventures has taken a stake. Of the partnership, Ian Robertson said, â€œI am thrilled to announce that we have just signed our first strategic partnership with My City Way. As a mobile app, My City Way provides users with information on public transportation, parking availability, and local entertainment for over 40 cities in the US. Another 40 cities will be part of the global rollout, including Munich, of course.â€
Written By: Gabe
Sort by MINI model
- World Premier: Refreshed 2015 MINI Countryman
- White Roof Radio #507
- MotoringFile’s Longterm JCW Roadster For Sale
- The 2015 MINI Clubman Hits the ‘Ring
- Exclusive: An Early Look at the 2nd Generation 2018 MINI Countryman
- MINI Final Final Test Drive Winner Announced
- White Roof Radio #506
- MotoringFile Review: The 2014 MINI Cooper Manual
- MINI’s Final Test Test Drive Videos are Up and They Are Hilarious
- (UPDATED WITH OFFICIAL STATEMENT) MINI USA Delaying all Cooper Deliveries Due to Defect
MotoringFile on Instagram
- Premier: BMW 228i Coupe with Track Handling Package
- BMW Investigating Building 3 Series Plant in North America
- BMW Team RLL Race Results at Long Beach
- BMW Team RLL Qualifies Second and Third at Long Beach
- Video: BMW M235i More Than a Bargain M?
- BMWi Video: The Carbon Fiber Journey
- World Debut: BMW X5 eDrive Concept
- BMW Voluntarily Recalls 156,137 Vehicles to Fix Variable Camshaft Issue
- Comparing the M235i to the M36 M3
- BMW Sell 200,000 Vehicles in a Month For The First Time Ever
- Three Houston Scooterists To Run the Cannonball for Cancer Charity
- Piaggio Group Worldwide Profits Plunged in 2013
- Opinion: Will the Vespa Sprint Hurt 946 Sales?
- Yamaha Unveils the Tricity 3-wheel Scooter
- Vespa Officially Announces the 2015 Sprint
- Video: A Baja Vespa Surf Adventure
- The Piaggio / Vespa Rumor Roundup
- Review: Hands-on With the Genuine Buddy 170i Brit Special Edition
- BMW Recalls C-Series Scooters Over Side Stand Switch Issue
- Review: 2014 Stella 125 Automatic First Ride
MINI Model Cheat Sheet
R50: One & MC Hatch
R52: All 1st Gen MINI Convt.
R53: MCS Hatch
2nd Gen MINI
R60: MINI Crossover
R61: MINI Crossover Coupe
3rd Gen MINI
F55: Five Door Hatch
F60: MINI Crossover
Advertise with MotoringFile
MotoringFile Buyers GuidesR50 ('02-'06 MC) Buyers Guide
R53 ('02-'06 MCS) Buyers Guide
'12 JCW Coupe
'11 Fiat 500 Sport
'11 Tesla Roaster 2.5 '11 Countryman Comparo
'11 Cooper S Hatch
'11 Countryman MCS (FWD)
'11 Countryman MC (auto)
'10 Mayfair MCS (auto)
'11 Countryman MCS (ALL4)
'10 MINI E
'10 Tesla Roadster Sport
'09 Cooper S Convertible
'09 JCW Hatch
'09 JCW Clubman
JCW Stage I vs JCW Stage II
'08 Clubman S (Auto)
1st Drive: '08 MINI Clubman
'08 Smart Fourtwo
Comparison: '08 BMW 135i
'06 R53 MCS vs '07 R56 MCS
'07 R56 JCW (Stage 1)
'07 MINI Cooper S Long Term
'07 BMW Z4 M Coupe
'07 MINI Cooper & Cooper S
Audio: '07 MC/MCS at the Track
'06 JCW GP Long term
Reader Review: JCW GP
'06 JCW Cooper S Long Term
Comparison: '06 Lotus Elise
Comparison: '06 Mazda MX5
Comparison: '06 UK Focus ST
Comparison: '06 Civic Si
Comparison: '04 TVR T350
Comparison: '06 Nissan 350z
Comparison: '06 VW GTI w/DSG
Podcast: Cooper S Auto
Podcast: BMW 325i
Podcast: JCW MC Soundkit
'04 JCW MINI Cooper Tuning Kit
'05 MCS: One Month Review
'05 MCS Auto
'05 JCW S 1st Drive
'05 MINI Cooper
'05 MCS Conv. Long Term
'05 MINI Cooper S
'05 MCS Cabrio 1st Drive
'04 JCW MCS First Drive
'04 MC w/JCW Tuning Kit
BMW M3 SMG Vs. MCS
'04 MINI Cooper CVT
'02 MCS 3 year Review
Autocrossing the MINI Range