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Still a Month From Launch, BMW Considering Boosting Production of i3 Battery-Car

Initial demand outstripping planned capacity.

by on Oct.15, 2013

The production version of the all-electric BMW i3 city car will go on sale in Europe on November 16th and in the U.S. by mid-2014.

The first of BMW’s new “i” branded battery-cars won’t start rolling into European showrooms next months – U.S. sales to start next years – but initial demand is so strong that the Bavarian maker is already talking about ramping up production.

Customers have already placed orders for 8,000 of the new BMW i3 city cars, which will eventually be sold with a choice of either a pure battery-electric drivetrain or an optional range-extender which adds a small internal combustion engine that can allow a motorist to keep going even when the battery runs down.

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“If demand holds, which is what it’s looking like, we will soon have to invest more,” said BMW Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner during an Amsterdam news conference.  That translates, he clarified into “adjust(ing) capacity according to demand.”

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BMW Is Plugged In – But Not Charged Up – About Battery Cars

Launches new EV car sharing program, but predicts marginal battery car sales.

by on Aug.22, 2012

San Franciscans can now rent a BMW ActiveE using a smartphone app.

BMW is plugging into the nascent electric vehicle market.  But that doesn’t mean it’s all that charged up about the technology’s opportunities, especially in the U.S., near-term.

Perhaps the best opportunity to create a market, the maker appears to be betting, is through non-traditional marketing efforts, such as the new DriveNow car-sharing service it has partnered with in San Francisco.

Without significant new incentives, senior BMW executives caution, direct EV sales to consumers will likely remain little more than an asterisk on the sales charts.

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With little fanfare, BMW quietly began letting DriveNow begin renting out its new 3-Series-based ActiveE battery-electric vehicle in late June.  At a growing number of automated locations in the city – with a center coming at San Francisco International Airport – motorists can pick up an ActiveE and use it for as little as a half hour or keep it for several days.

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BMW, PSA Peugeot Citroen Form Battery Car Joint venture

Makers plant to partner on hybrids and electric car technologies.

by on Feb.02, 2011

BMW will produce the Megacity urban battery-electric vehicle at its plant in Leipzig, Germany.

The electrification of the auto industry is clearly making for some strange bedfellows.  We’ve seen Toyota team up with the California start-up, Tesla Motors – which has also been working with Daimler on battery car technology for its Mercedes and Smart brands.  Ford is partnering with Magna and Azure Dynamics.  Chrysler will take lead in developing battery technology for its partner Fiat.  Nissan and European partner Renault have major plans for battery vehicles – and have also partnered with Daimler.

Now comes official confirmation that BMW will be allying itself with the French PSA Peugeot Citroen in a partnership that will help both manufacturers ramp up their hybrid efforts.  The new agreement expands upon a more limited battery car program they had tentatively initiated last autumn.

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The 50-50 joint venture, dubbed BMW Peugeot Citroen Electrification, will focus on developing and producing everything involved in electrification, from battery packs to motors, chargers all the way to the sophisticated software needed to make the systems run smoothly and efficiently.

The partners want to come up with an array of hybrid systems that will be able to plug-and-play with a wide variety of different BMW, Citroen and Peugeot vehicles.  While they are focusing on hybrid systems, it is believed likely they will also cooperate on more advanced battery-based propulsion systems, including plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.

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BMW Set To Build Megacity Battery Car

Announces $744 million investment in Leipzig factory; U.S. carbon fiber plant may follow.

by on Nov.08, 2010

BMW will produce the Megacity urban battery-electric vehicle at its plant in Leipzig, Germany.

BMW is making good on its commitment to building an electric car for the urban environment.

The German automaker has announced that it plans to invest $744 million to move ahead with production of the all-electric Megacity at its assembly plant in Leipzig in old East Germany.  As part of the project, BMW also planning to build a carbon fiber plant in the U.S. probably in the State of Washington.

The announcement coincides with word BMW will put its striking Vision Efficient Dynamics Concept vehicle into production.  The high-performance plug-in hybrid will be capable of launching from 0 to 60 in just 4.8 seconds while still getting about 31 miles on battery power before its diesel engine fires up.  Unlike the relatively mainstream Megacity, the Vision will be priced at somewhere around $200,000 (Click Here for more.)

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The Megacity, which is designed strictly as an urban vehicle, is BMW’s first battery-powered auto, and it will be sold under a new sub-brand when it reaches showrooms in 2013. Passengers in the four-seat car will be protected by a carbon-fiber safety cell, similar to a Formula 1 race car.

BMW first announced Megacity last winter but is now taking preliminary steps to implement the project, which company officials say is a direct response to the steady growth in urban areas around the globe.

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BMW To Launch U.S. Trial Of ActiveE Battery-Car

Maker targeting key coastal markets.

by on Sep.23, 2010

BMW will begin field testing its ActiveE battery-car vehicle in summer 2011 in key U.S. markets.

BMW’s ActiveE Concept – first unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show last January – will take a giant step closer to production next summer, the automaker plans to announce today.

The Bavarian marque will use the Opportunity Green conference, in Los Angeles, to outline an ambitious field test of the ActiveE, focusing on key markets on the East and West Coasts.  The maker anticipates using the project as a prelude for the launch of its battery-powered Megacity Vehicle in 2013.

The sprawling Los Angeles to San Diego metroplex will play a “key” role, according to BMW officials, along with the Greater New York region.  But the maker will also field some of the battery cars in San Francisco and Sacramento, out west, and in Boston.

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“We’re looking forward to working with more drivers in more markets to build our base of experience,” explains Rich Steinberg, who oversees electric vehicle operations for BMW of North America. The ActiveE program, he notes, will run concurrently with a field test of the Mini E, a battery-based microcar from BMW’s British subsidiary.

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First Look: 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5

Expanding the hybrid range to the mainstream luxury market.

by on Mar.03, 2010

BMW's ActiveHybrid 5 Concept takes gas-electric technology a step beyond what's available in the original ActiveHybrid 7.

Slow off the line with the introduction of its first gasoline-electric vehicle, BMW is making up for lost time as it begins rolling out an assortment of new hybrids.  The next one due to reach showrooms around the world is the ActiveHybrid 5, based on the German maker’s new mid-range sedan.

The 2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 5 doesn’t look much different than the base 5-Series, and the name might suggest it shares underlying powertrains with the 2010 ActiveHybrid 7, but on the technical front, it turns out, there’s a fair degree of differentiation.

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The primary powerplant, explains Klaus Draeger, the automaker’s technology chief, is a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo, direct-injection inline-six, which makes 301 horsepower.  That’s mated to a 55 hp electric motor which can drive the vehicle by itself for short distances, at speeds up to about 60 mph. The ActiveHybrid 7, on the other hand, uses a simpler driveline not intended for running solely on batteries.

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