MUNICH – BMW debuted its new “i” sub-brand, which will include the automaker’s new BMW i3, an electric vehicle, and the i8, a plug-in hybrid. Both vehicles slated for global release in MY 2013. The automaker stated that this brand is focused on developing “sustainable mobility solutions,” and that to help fund this effort that it has stabled a venture capital company in New York City called BMW I Ventures, with an investment totally $100 million (US dollars).

The i3 is based on BMW’s Megacity Vehicle and will be powered by electricity alone. The automaker said this model is designed for urban driving. The company’s i8 is based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study and is a plug-in hybrid. BMW based both models on a construction architecture that the company calls LifeDrive. An aluminium chassis houses the powertrain, and the passenger cell consists of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).

“Both cars have been designed specifically for their respective alternative drive systems. 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,” explains Klaus Draeger, BMW Board member responsible for development.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet