Video: The German carmaker has announced it will form a sub-brand called BMW i, focusing on electric vehicles
BMW says the i brand will focus on "sustainable, premium mobility" and will start with two vehicles launched in 2013.
The BMW i3 (previously known as the Mega City) and BMW i8 (based on the Vision EfficientDynamics concept) will both feature an aluminium chassis housing the powertrain and a lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic passenger cell. The construction concept will be known as LifeDrive architecture.
The new i models will retain the BMW logos - albeit with a blue ring around them. The cars will be distinguished by blue grille surrounds, aerodynamic side skirts, "stream flow" C-pillars, and "large but narrow" wheels.
BMW says the i3 will be the BMW Group’s first series-produced car for urban areas to be driven by electric power alone. And the BMW i8 is a plug-in hybrid drive that will blend the sporting ability of a high-performance machine with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car.
As well as the plug-in hybrid and pure-electric technology, BMW i will emphasise "a range of vehicle-independent services". As part of this process, the company has setup an American-based capital investment group called BMW i Ventures. It will focus on smartphone applications such as the MyCity app which provides users with information on public transportation, parking availability, and local entertainment.