BMW’s Megacity electric car will be the first model in the company’s new, yet-to-be-named sub-brand family of radical electric vehicles.
Scheduled for launch in 2013, the Megacity will be a full five-seater in the Golf class. It will be rear-engined and rear-wheel drive, and establish a new design language for electric cars. But insiders reckon that it will also share some styling features with mainstream BMWs because it is a sub-brand rather than a marque in its own right like Mini.
Among the car’s more revolutionary features will be a lightweight, low-cost carbonfibre body, jointly developed with SGL Carbon and produced at a new factory in Moses Lake, Washington, in the United States. The SGL Group is investing $100m (£68m) initially in the venture, which is based around a 60-acre site and could create up to 80 jobs.
The Megacity will almost certainly employ a new name — but not Triumph, as previously mooted — and it will eventually feature a range of cars, including sporting models.
BMW believes it has developed a highly innovative, lower-cost, mass market-compatible means of producing carbonfibre monocoque bodywork. This will dramatically reduce the Megacity’s potential price and weight, improving not only its range but also performance.
The car’s range is anticipated to be around 160 miles, aided by its aerodynamic efficiency and bodywork that’s expected to represent a breakthrough in mass production terms.
Like the Mini E and Chevy Volt, 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.