Electric car will be the first model in the company’s new, yet-to-be-named sub-brand family
14 May 2010

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.

Evolution of the BMW Megacity

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.

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

The car’s powertrain will be closely based on the second-generation electric drive system previewed by the BMW 1-series coupé-based Active E hybrid. That set-up 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 Megacity complete with its battery. The firm believes the high cost of the powerpack will be offset by strong residual values that the units could have when they enter second-life usage as an energy store for power companies.

Power suppliers will harness these used electric EV batteries to provide additional buffered energy during moments of peak demand on the national grid, because the batteries are still capable of holding as much as 85 per cent of their charge after several years usage in a car. Nissan is planning a similar role for its used EV battery packs.

Richard Bremner

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Comments
8

14 May 2010

I am pleased it wont be called a Triumph. I would love to see Triumph back, but not on an electric city car.

14 May 2010

The autocar illustration looks like an Aston, you know the little one.

14 May 2010

Can I give them a tip - make the deceleration adjustable! If it's too rapid then it will be unpleasant to drive, especially in a city. I know more power is gained (or re-gained) by rapid deceleration, but if it's too pronounced then it will feel weird. Put the deceleration on an adjustable dial - explaining to the customer to set it as high as they feel comfortable with, to give more regeneration.

14 May 2010

The other sub 1 series car is ok, this one is all wrong. BMW please leave the little cars to those who try to do them best, the french. Ditto Aston. Learn a lesson, the french try to make exec cars to rival BMWs, and they never have really ben successful outside the French government. This sort of car to me rivals the Matiz, Wagon R, Meriva, Sart, Perodua so the price will need to be in the same region and inflated a bit for the brand name. Can anyone see this being sold for sub 10K cus thats the market its heading for.

Many of the people who buy cars in this range do so because thats all they can afford (mainly pensioners), they will stick with what they know, or trade up to an i20 or similar which is bigger and will cost about the same as this BMW, but come with every option you need and more.

DONT DO IT BMW

14 May 2010

I'm sure that there will be a flourishing market for this car, but for goodness sake keep the BMW name. The halo effect will boost the newcomer and I don't see why it should affect the mainstream models.

The Megacity name will make most people squirm and should be changed. It sounds like something out of a naff 1930s science fiction film, but with marketing-garbage like 'sub-brand family of radical electric vehicles' and 'establish a new design language for electric cars' I fear the worst

14 May 2010

Blah, blah, blah, electric car, blah, blah, blah.....

Now make me a Triumph with a straight 6. I'd never buy a BMW but a Triumph?....mmmmm

14 May 2010

[quote TStag]

Blah, blah, blah, electric car, blah, blah, blah.....

Now make me a Triumph with a straight 6. I'd never buy a BMW but a Triumph?....mmmmm

[/quote]But that wouldnt really be a Triumph would it, it would be a BMW with a Triumph badge!

14 May 2010

If it's a Megacity One Series, will Judge Dredd drive one?

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