Currently reading: New BMW Megacity: full details
Firm confirms launch date for Megacity car on eve of Beijing motor show

BMW's Project i Megacity electric car will be launched in 2013.

It will be a full five-seater in the Golf class, it will be rear-engined and rear-wheel drive, establish a new design language for electric cars and will be constructed from lightweight carbonfibre. However, it is expected to feature signature BMW design features, such as the kidney grille and Hofmeister kink.

The Megacity will also be marketed under its own brand, and will eventually feature a range of cars, including sports versions.

BMW believes that it has developed a radical, lower-cost, mass-market-compatible means of producing carbonfibre monocoque bodywork that will dramatically reduce the Megacity's potential weight, improving not only its range but acceleration too.

Its range is anticipated to be around 160 miles, aided by its aerodynamic efficiency and carbon bodywork that's expected to represent a breakthrough in terms of both cost and mass production potential, both aspects usually relegating the material to low-volume, high-priced models.

Like the Mini E, the Megacity will feature unusually high levels of deceleration when the throttle is released in order to enhance battery regeneration, although the effect is expected to be slightly less pronounced.

The enhanced regenerative braking of the Mini E is contributes as much as a 20 per cent improvement in range on the city cycle, and BMW is keen to carry as much of that benefit over to the Megacity as possible.

Its powertrain will be closely based on the second-generation electric drive system used in the BMW 1-series coupe-based Active E hybrid, which is more efficient in terms of range, acceleration and battery packaging than the system used in the Mini E.

Unlike some electric car pioneers, BMW plans to sell the car complete with its battery, the high cost of the powerpack offset by the high residual value it will have as a result of the second life usage it will receive as an energy store for power companies, it believes.

Electricity generators will harness these used electric car batteries to provide additional energy supply during moments of peak demand on the national grid, the batteries still capable of holding as much as 85 per cent of their charge after several years' usage in EVs. Nissan is planning a similar role for its used EV battery packs.BMW also says it is experimenting with a new electric version of its defunct C1 electric scooter, whose concept it believes could be revived with electric propulsion.

Richard Bremner

See all the latest BMW reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Add a comment…
beachland2 22 April 2010

Re: New BMW city car in 2013

I can gurrantee that its main use wont be for electric drivetrain cars, it will be for normal combustion engines. The way they are making this work is by mass producing, which means giving it all possible engine types and configurations. The most popular is likely to be a simple petrol engined version, it will be incredibly light and the most powerful and best handling of the options.

david RS 22 April 2010

Re: New BMW city car in 2013

With 6 batteries in line, a 3 modes DSC (on, DTC, off), it could be a good proposition.

Rover P6 3500S 22 April 2010

Re: New BMW city car in 2013

Rear-engine, rear-drive, ultra-light... come on, BMW, if you must make a bloody 0-series, make it like this and call it the 700, like the last time you did a really small car - not a bloody FWD abortion with a stupid '016i' badge on the back, claiming it's a 1.6 when it's a 1.2 turbo or whatever...