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BMW to launch own-label eco brand

New mobility: BMW's new vehicle sub-brand will cover a range of vehicles for a greener future.

BMW to market its Megacity electric car and other green vehicles under new sub-brand

7 Aug 2009

BMW has revealed it will launch a new green vehicle sub-brand, which will include its forthcoming full-electric zero-emissions compact car series and other urban-oriented vehicles.

BMW AG chairman Norbert Reithofer said this week it was “the most logical step” that the so-called Megacity electric vehicle (EV) was launched under a separate brand – similar to its M performance division – alongside other “mobility concepts” in development at the German prestige car manufacturer’s eco-car skunkworks known as Project i.

The project development team is known to be working on a wide range of concepts, from the near-production EV (and derivatives) due for a mass-market launch in 2012 to an extension of the Bertone-built C1 two-wheeled urban commuter first seen in 2002 and the subsequent CLEVER (compact low emission vehicle for urban transport) concept unveiled in 2006.

“The board has now decided: this auto (Megacity) will be launched on the market as a sub-brand of BMW,” Dr Reithofer said. “As BMW is the innovation driver within the group, the decision for a sub-brand under BMW is the most logical step.”

14 center imageDr Reithofer (left) said full details would be released “later this year”, which is likely to be in September at the Frankfurt motor show – where BMW will launch a “comprehensive sustainability campaign that demonstrates what we plan to achieve in the future”.

He said BMW was intent on being the global leader “when it comes to premium” – “but it is, first and foremost, new drive technologies that will pave the way for a sustainable future”.

“We as well as other companies have invested early on in the development of new, economic technologies,” Dr Reithofer said.

“Now it is all about establishing suitable regulations on an international level that will help a new type of mobility to grow. A reliable framework is important for every car-maker to continue to invest effectively and efficiently.” According to Dr Reithofer, EVs were considered a “promising option” for BMW, which last week announced its exit from Formula One motor racing in order to redirect funds to the development of new drive technologies and “projects in the field of sustainability”.

Earlier this week, BMW announced that it had chosen SB LiMotive, which is jointly owned by Bosch and Samsung SDI, as the supplier of lithium-ion batteries for its forthcoming family of “Megacity Vehicles” (note the plural Dr Reithofer used here).

“This co-operation gives us access to state-of-the-art lithium-ion storage technology,” the BMW chief said. “Both partners of this joint venture, Bosch and Samsung SDI, have the competence and ability to handle the entire battery lifecycle up to the stage of re-use or recycling.” Through SB LiMotive, Bosch and Samsung SDI have committed to investing $US500 million ($A592 million) to the development and manufacture of lithium-ion cells and battery cells for hybrids and EVs over the next four years.

“Acting sustainably also means thinking ahead,” Dr Reithofer said. “True, there might be a few scattered indicators of an economic recovery. However, the economic environment will remain volatile, unstable and characterised by the global economic and financial crisis. A lasting recovery period is not yet in sight.

“This is why we will continue to act with foresight. Step-by-step we will continue to implement our vision of becoming the leading provider of premium products and premium services for individual mobility.”

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