BMW has entered the race to bring a mass-market electric car to the showrooms, by as soon as 2013.
In July 2010 the German car maker told assembled media at a plant outside Munich that battery technology had ”reached the point where it really makes sense to drive electric.”
Industry analyst Professor Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the University of Duisburg-Essen, said the big car makers realised they needed electric vehicles (EVs) in their range if they were to succeed in China, whose government is promoting emission-free transport.
BMW’s approach is to design the “MegaCity” vehicle from scratch around a electric drive system. Professor Dudenhoeffer believes this is the first car to be conceived as exclusively as an electric vehicle.
Other EVs are based on conventional cars, building an electric drive-train into a pre-existing internal combustion vehicle. This what Daimler-Mercedes is doing with the electric version of the two-seat Smart car planned for 2012.
BMW expects sales of petrol and diesel-powered cars to decline from 2020.
Some technical details: it is supposed to have an aluminium chassis, a rear mounted electric motor and a middle/front mounted battery.
MegaCity project is being run by Ulrich Kranz, who directed BMW’s successful revival of the Mini brand in 2001. According to BMW’s design chief, Adrian van Hooydonk the vehicle will be “sporty and stylish” see the attached BMW design sketch.
(Based on articles in the NEW YORK TIMES and www.electrovelocity.com blog.)
Meanwhile Daimler plan to deliver a battery-powered version of its two-seat Smart car to showrooms by 2012.
An early version, the Smart Ed , is currently being tested in London and other places. It is estimated that a full charge, from any three pin socket, will cost less than £2, working out at about 2p a mile to run.
The estimated range is 84 miles for an eight-hour charge. Top speed is around 60mph.
The vehicle will reduce CO2 emissions by 2.6 tonnes per year over 10,000 miles, compared with the industry average