BMW has used the Beijing Motor Show to announce that it will have its much-talked-about Megacity electric car on the market by 2013. Previously, the German automaker had only hinted that it would produce the urban runabout in the first half of the decade.
Also of note is that the Megacity EV will be launched under a new sub-brand, much in the same way that the automaker has used its Mini branch to enter into lower market segments without taking the chance of tarnishing the well-earned reputation of its corporate roundel.
According to BMW, its upcoming electric vehicle will be the first mass-produced vehicle that relies heavily on the use of carbon fiber for its structure, which should help keep the vehicle lightweight, thereby improving its performance and range. BMW has indicated that it hopes to earn valuable information from its 600-plus vehicle fleet of Mini E electric vehicles, 50 of which will be delivered to Chinese customers before the end of 2010.
In related news, BMW has also said that it will show off an electric 5 Series sedan in Beijing. Called the Echo, the EV was assembled at BMW's Shanyang plant in China with cooperation from the government-backed Tongji University. There are currently no plans to put the vehicle into production, but the automaker hopes to gauge how advanced China's homegrown electric vehicle technology is at present.
Megacity will have a range of roughly 160 miles per charge, and about 20 percent of that range will be due to an aggressive regenerative braking system. Further, BMW does not plan to lease its battery packs separately, as some automakers have hinted is a possibility. Instead, BMW believes that its packs will still have 85 percent of their stated capacity after the car's lifespan is complete, making the power sources valuable on the used market to power companies.