BMW has revealed a new concept car that gives clues towards the Project I family of electric cars planned to be on sale mid-decade.
The three-wheeler Simple concept was created inside BMW’s advanced engineering Technik facility in Munich with the aim of offering personal mobility with fuel consumption below 2l/100km, the equivalent of 120mpg.
That’s the next target for fuel economy that car companies are going to have target in the next decade.
The target in the previous decade was 3l/1000km, equivalent to 90mpg, and one that future models being rolled out in the next few years will increasingly manage.
“We could build the Simple right now with the technology we have, but it is just a concept,” says project leader Sebastian Schelper.
The Simple features a below-floor 36kW petrol engine, a three-wheel layout and tandem seating for two.Other powertrains, including electric drive was explored for the project.
Schelper say that the tough fuel economy target dictated the tandem layout. “It’s the only way to get such a low fuel economy,” he says.
VW recently revealed a similar design at Frankfurt and experimented with a three-wheeler aimed at the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on US freeways. “The Simple would also be able to drive in HOVs,” says Schelper.
For now, though the Simple, is a dead project. Marketing decided that he tandem seating position wasn’t a practical sale-able proposition, which scuppered the design.
Created in 2008, it was never shown at a major motor show and instead has just been put on show at BMW’s Munich car museum.
Significantly, though, a detailed design and engineering dossier on the Simple has been passed to the team working on Project I and Schelper is now head of sustainability on the electric car project.