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Europe: BMW has its ‘i’ on 2013 for revamped battery car

This i3 is apparently close to what will be seen in showrooms in 2013, though the clear doors are unlikely.

Peter Gorrie


It’s as promised, but with an important twist.

Last summer, in Munich, BMW experts laid out the principles behind a new, attention-grabbing car.

Dubbed the MegaCity Vehicle, it was significant for two reasons: It would be the company’s first electric car built from scratch for battery power and intended for the mass market — at least, for those able to afford a BMW. And it would be aimed directly at urban and suburban drivers.

The battery and electric motor, as well as the myriad and complex controls for them, would be designed and built in-house and, while not revolutionary, would be state-of-the-art, BMW-style.

The car would feature a carbon-fibre passenger compartment and aluminium chassis to reduce weight and dramatically increase passenger safety.

And a rough design sketch suggested an automotive work of art.

The company recently took the next step, unveiling a prototype. The vehicle is now called the i3, to denote its membership in a new division — not surprisingly, “Project i” — that also includes, for starters, the sporty plug-in-hybrid i8 sedan.


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