BMW confirms new ‘i’ eco-friendly sub brand

BMW confirms new ‘i’ eco-friendly sub brand

The BMW Group has just confirmed its new sub-brand called “i”, which it will use to market a fresh range of eco-friendly vehicles including regular and plug-in hybrids, and pure electric models.

The first models to be launched under the new sub-brand won’t arrive till 2013 and will be called the BMW i3 and i8. The i3 is set to be an all-electric city car, that will be based on the Megacity Vehicle. The i8, is a more exciting plug-in hybrid sports car based on the Vision EfficientDynamics concept study unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Both new models will be based on BMW’s latest construction concept called LifeDrive that makes use of an aluminium chassis to house the powertrain, while the passenger cell consists of high-strength but extremely lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP).

“Both cars have been designed specifically for their respective alternative drive systems,” explains Klaus Draeger, the BMW Board member responsible for development. “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.”

While BMW did not disclose further details about powertrains during the announcement, the company recently revealed that the 1-Series ActiveE’s electric synchronous motor with 168HP (125 kW) and 250 Nm of torque which will be used in the i3.

As for the i8 sports car, it is likely to combine the Vision ED concept model’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo diesel engine with a variant of the i3’s electric motor. When the 2+2 seater design study was revealed it featured a 1.5-litre diesel engine and two electric motors for a total system output of 328 horsepower and a 0 to 100 km/h sprint time of just 4.8 seconds.

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