BMW Project i | BMW Megacity to be released in 2013

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Mini E BMW electric vehicle

The Mini e and Megacity are just two developments of BMW's Project i. Image from Flickr.

At the Beijing Auto Show today, BMW confirmed that it will be selling the new Megacity electric car as soon as 2013. Electric car enthusiasts may have to wait a bit longer for the Megacity to make an appearance in the United States – though there are indications that BMW may very well do just that.

BMW Project i Developments

In early 2008, BMW announced a new initiative – called Project i – that would be charged with developing all-new electric vehicle technology. Rather than creating a single new electric vehicle, the BMW Project i engineers would be asked to create “solutions” that could be implemented in many vehicles. In the two years since Project i was created, BMW has started testing many new ideas that use this new technology.

BMW Megacity

The BMW Megacity is going to be an electric car that is “slightly smaller than a Mini Cooper.” Built mainly out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) materials, it is estimated to have a range of approximately 160 miles per charge. Designed to handle the majority of in-city traffic, the BMW Megacity is optimized for driving 30 mph or less, in stop-and-go traffic. Set to be released in China in 2013, there are not yet any official plans for the BMW Megacity to make a debut in the United States. However, BMW did recently invest a large amount of money in building a CFRP plant in Moses Lake, Wash., so there are most likely plans for the materials, if not the car, in the United States.

BMW Megacity and other electric vehicles tested

The BMW Megacity is set to become the first BMW vehicle created for full production runs. However, BMW is also testing all-electric or zero-emissions versions of other vehicles. The Mini E, an all-electric mini cooper, has about 500 test cars on the road in the United States. There are also plans of a BMW 7-series hybrid and an X6 hybrid – both of which should get 15 to 20 percent better fuel efficiency than the all-fuel powered versions.


US News & World Report
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