BMW is pushing ahead with technology that will revolutionise the way it makes its cars — and give them double or even triple the lifespans of current production vehicles.
The radical carbonfibre construction and separate chassis of BMW’s Megacity vehicle could start to underpin a significant proportion of the firm’s upper end output from the beginning of the next decade, as the car industry is hit by the triple whammy of CO2 reduction legislation, the peaking of oil production and the continuing emigration of the world’s population to rapidly expanding cities.
Originally dubbed ‘Project i’, BMW’s attempt to establish just how to provide mobility from 2020 onwards was seen by the company board as a complete rethink of the car itself.
“Strategy number one,” a BMW source told Autocar, “was an attempt to create the future, understanding future customer needs and accessing key new technology. It is the only way to ensure growth in the long term.”
BMW’s research predicts that much of the world will be affected by “mega trends” as consumer behaviour “makes a major step into the future”. A big shift in political forces is also foreseen.
“Aside from environmental regulations,” the firm said, “we expect legislation to mushroom, restricting vehicle access to city centres and the establishment of intelligent traffic control systems”.
A shift towards global culture is also predicted, with tastes among middle-class consumers beginning to merge, particularly on sustainability.
The Megacity car, due in 2013, will be sold under a sub brand and meet the issue of sustainability head-on. BMW admits that it will have a much longer service life than a typical modern car.