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Europe: BMW unveils new electric and hybrid concept cars


In this image provided by BMW, form left, BMW i3 Concept and BMW i8 Concept are shown. BMW is showing off a pair of new hybrid and electric concept cars expected to reach dealer showrooms in the next few years. The German automaker gave journalists in New York a sneak peak of its i3 city car and i8 sports car Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. The cars will officially debut at the Los Angeles auto show next week. Both feature carbon fiber construction, which reduces the weight of the vehicle and the size of its frame. It also allows BMW to construct much of the exteriors out of tinted glass instead of metal, giving them a see-through quality. (AP Photo/BMW)

By Bree Fowler
AP Auto Writer / November 9, 2011
E-mail this article To: Invalid E-mail address Add a personal message:(80 character limit) Your E-mail: Invalid E-mail address
Sending your articleYour article has been sent. E-mail| Print| Comments (0)Text size – + NEW YORK—BMW unveiled a pair of concept cars Wednesday, one a hybrid and one electric, made of light-weight carbon fiber and a see-through glass exterior.

Tweet Be the first to Tweet this!ShareThis The cars are expected to go into production within the next two to three years.

The carbon fiber in the i3 city car and i8 sports car significantly reduces the weight of the vehicle and the size of its frame, giving designers more flexibility and creating more interior space for passengers, said Richard Kim, who designed the exteriors of both vehicles.

The material, used in the aerospace sector and also for high-end bicycles, is valued for its strength-to-weight ratio. Its uses are expanding, however, and engineers are designing everything from camping equipment to pool cues.

For the German automaker, it allowed for more glass where there is traditionally metal, Kim said. The doors of both vehicles are mostly made of glass, along with much of their roofs and tail ends.
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