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New BMW Line Features Aluminum, CFRP

New BMW Line Features Aluminum, CFRP

Aluminum and carbon-reinforced plastics (CFRP) will play significant roles in a new line of BMW city cars designed to run on electric power.

Two models will be launched under the new sub-brand in 2013-the BMW i3 and the BMW i8.

Both models are based on a construction concept that BMW calls LifeDrive architecture.

An aluminum chassis houses the powertrain, and the passenger cell is made of carbon composite material, similar to the plastic used in the Boeing Dreamliner 787.

"Both cars have been designed specifically for their respective alternative drive systems," says Klaus Draeger, the BMW board member responsible for development. "We used the innovative architecture and CFRP to cancel out practically all of the extra weight added by the batteries. For our customers this means superior driving dynamics combined with significantly increased range using electric power,"

The BMW i brand comes from a BMW Group think tank exploring sustainable mobility solutions.

The BMW i3-previously known as the Megacity Vehicle-will be the BMW Group's first electric-power only production car for urban areas. The BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid.

The BMW i3 and the BMW i8 will be manufactured at BMW's Leipzig plant. Close to $600 million will be invested in new plant facilities and some 800 jobs will be created for the project.

Both vehicles will use the same component sets for the electric motors, power electronics and high-voltage lithium-ion batteries.

A new venture capital company established by BMW, called BMW i Ventures, has the goal to expand the range of products and services offered by BMW i in the long term by taking stakes in innovative service providers. New York-based My City Way, a mobile app, is the first company in which BMW i Ventures has taken a stake. No terms were announced.

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