BMW to sell electric vehicles under new brand

BMW already produces electric vehicles Mini which it leases. Jack Pitney, BMW’s marketing chief in the United States, told reporters in Detroit that the automaker will market BMW electric cars under a sub-brand similar to the M designation it has for its performance cars.

Described as the Megacity EV (electric vehicle), "it’ll be exactly what it says," Pitney said. "It’ll be offered in major urban markets."

"What we’ll be testing with the 1 Series is the engineering, battery packaging and some electronic systems," he said. "It’s our last pilot before the Megacity."

BMW showed an electric concept, the ActiveE, at the Detroit auto show in January. Currently, BMW is running a test fleet of 600 Minis, the MiniE, with electric vehicles in the hands of private users. The Concept ActiveE is the next car BMW intends to test, planning an even larger fleet.

Starting with the 1-series chassis and body, BMW fitted an electric motor onto the rear axle. A lithium ion battery pack is separated into two components, one near the motor and one under the hood, keeping the car balanced to a 50:50 weight distribution, preserving BMW’s handling ethos.

With its current technology, the electric car has a range of about 100 miles, and the battery pack takes 4.5 hours to charge off a 32 amp source, according to BMW. Performance figures are not stunning, with acceleration to 60 mph in about 8.5 seconds.

Source: BMW, The Detroit News,