What does the future of urban mobility look like? Well, according to the designers and engineers behind BMW’s Megacity Vehicle it will be lightweight and electric with a bit of luxury. BMW says the Megacity, slated to roll out by 2013 under a sub-brand, will be the automaker’s “first electrically powered production car.” BMW has released some of the first sketches of the model this week.
While BMW garnered a generally positive response from drivers in its ongoing electric Mini E trial program, the automaker emphasized in a release this week that, “the adaptation of a vehicle originally designed to be driven by a combustion engine,” as in the case of the electric Mini E and ActivE concept, “does not exploit the full potential of electric mobility.”
BMW plans to design the Megacity model from the ground up, with new drive components, increased use of lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic and “a completely new vehicle architecture.” The automaker has not named a price range, but the model will likely come in at the high end and be targeted at affluent drivers.
As Automobile Magazine explains, BMW plans to use what it calls LifeDrive architecture in the Megacity, separating the vehicle into one module for carrying passengers (Life), built primarily from lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum, and a second module (Drive) for housing a 35-kWh battery pack, the electric drive system and “some structural and crash architecture.”
Applying lessons from the Mini E field trials, BMW says the Megacity will afford drivers slightly longer driving range and more interior space, since “limited luggage and passenger capacity” were the reasons that drivers cited most frequently for not using the Mini E for a given trip.
Here are some sketches of the Megacity concept and images of some of the carbon fiber components. They don’t reveal a whole lot, and much can change between this design phase and actual production. But it’s a start — what do you think?
Images courtesy of BMW Group
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