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BMW Launches New Sub-Brand for Electric Vehicles
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February 23, 2011

BMW Launches New Sub-Brand for Electric Vehicles

By Beecher Tuttle
TMCnet Contributor

German luxury car maker BMW on Monday introduced a new sub-brand that will be used to market the company's long-awaited line of electric vehicles.

The sub-brand, known as "BMW i," will go a long way toward helping the car manufacturer respond to Europe's recent push for sustainability and its more stringent CO2 regulations.

As part of the initiative, BMW will launch two initial production vehicles: the i3 and the i8. Based on the company's Megacity concept electric vehicle, the i3 is a small, battery-powered four-seater designed with the urban car owner in mind. The i8, on the other hand, is a rechargeable hybrid sports car with the power of a traditional high-performance luxury vehicle and the carbon footprint of a fuel-efficient compact car, according to BMW.

Both vehicles will be built with the company's LifeDrive vehicle architecture in mind, meaning they will be extremely lightweight, USA Today reports.

"We used the innovative architecture and (carbon fiber) to cancel out practically all of the extra weight added by the batteries. ... this means superior driving dynamics combined with significantly increased range using electric power," Klaus Draeger, BMW board member for development, noted in a statement.

The i3 and the i8 are expected to hit car dealerships sometime during 2013. BMW will invest approximately $540 million to build a new plant in Leipzig, Germany, where it will manufacture the two green vehicles. It is still unclear whether the cars will be accompanied with premium price tags.

BMW will also use the new sub-brand to roll out various "premium mobility solutions," which are technologies and services that are based on the concept of sustainability. These solutions are to include intermodal route planning, premium car-sharing, navigation systems with local information and mobile apps. The company announced that it has formed a New York-based venture capital firm called iVentures to support these mobility products and services.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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