As the electric vehicle market expands, the biggest names in automobile manufacturing are drawn towards adapting some of their latest models to the plug instead of gasoline. While Japan has had little issue with creating entire lines of hybrid and electric vehicles, some of Europe’s biggest names have been taking their time. For example, Audi, Mercedes Benz, and Volkswagen have announced a variety of electric, hydrogen, and hybrid vehicles in the last couple of years though few are near a major release. BMW seems to be taking an even steadier approach, preferring to keep most of the electric concepts just that: concepts. However, no long content with merely making concepts, BMW’s electric department is preparing to unleash their own special brand of electric vehicles on the market and they are hoping to do it as soon as possible.
According to a statement released by the German automotive company last week, BMW plans to invest nearly $550 million into electric cars that would be slated for release by 2013. A large portion of the funds are going into the expansion of their newest factory located in Leipzig, Germany, which will make the factory the first in Germany to mass produce battery powered electric vehicles. While the exact types of electric cars that will be built at the plant are unknown, BMW has announced that they will begin manufacturing their Megacity model at a nearby factory.
The BMW Megacity is one of BMW’s most publicized electric vehicle projects since concepts were released and rumors began to circulate some time ago. Now, with the projected release date of 2013 in mind, BMW has been more forthcoming with details about the car. The four door sedan is meant to be one of BMW’s more affordable electric cars with a potential price similar to that of the Nissan LEAF, though many believe the price tag will end up being a little higher. BMW has also said that they are planning on making it match, if not exceed, an electric equivalent of roughly thirty five miles per gallon.
Aside from their Megacity electric vehicle, BMW also has plans for several hybrid and electric sports cars. The Vision EfficientDynamics Concept car, BMW’s latest concept, is an all carbon fiber sports car that will marry a diesel engine with electric components. While the all electric range of the Vision concept is a mere thirty one miles, BMW has said that the total range is over 400 miles when using both diesel and electric power. The car is expected to have over 320 horsepower once it has been completed and BMW has said that will emit roughly 70% less carbon emissions than their M6 model, which has similar performance.
In the end, we will have to wait until 2013 to see if our wait for BMW’s electric vehicles will be worth it. If anything, BMW is excited about their jump into the market and they believe that their vehicles could end up being the future for electric vehicle drivers.
Article by Richard Cooke, appearing courtesy Justmeans.