Mar 192012

BMW Green Frontrunner

It may not have travelled as far as the likes of Toyota, Chevrolet, Nissan and Ford in terms of going green, but as far as the luxury car market goes, BMW is a frontrunner. And it’s only going to get greener, according to chairman of the BMW board of management, Dr Norbert Reithofer.

BMW Active Hybrid 3 - Eco Car

BMW Active Hybrid 3 - Eco Car

C02 Emissions Halved by 2020

Speaking at the automaker’s annual accounts press conference, he outlined a continuation of BMW’s move towards greener vehicles as it looks meet increasingly demanding CO2 targets set by the US and EU governments. Dr Reithofer said BMW planned to cut the average CO2 emissions of its vehicles by half before 2020. He added that the company has a number of strategies already in place to meet these green goals.

BMW M Performing Vehicles

Much of this is being driven by research and development focusing on light-weight construction and drive technologies that minimise the use and wastage of energy and maximise the mileage from every last drop of fuel. Recently, BMW has introduced its range of M Performance vehicles, which deliver on performance but also keep fuel consumption to a minimum courtesy of an eight-speed automatic gearbox and what has been dubbed Efficient Drive technology. The latter uses auto start and stop so that the engine is only using up fuel when it is actually in use. There is also an exhaust treatment system whereby diesel exhaust fumes are filtered to reduce the build-up of nitrogen oxide in the air.

BMW i3 Electric Car in 2013

A big part of the German luxury carmaker’s strategy is also electric. BMW’s answer to vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf is the i3, previously known as the Mega City Vehicle, which will be the first of a new BMW 1 sub-brand under development. BMW announced the new initiative in February last year and plans to commercially produce the first car, the i3, sometime in 2013. Even sooner than that, a showcase vehicle is scheduled for display during the London Olympic Games this summer.

80 Miles per charge

Featuring an ion-lithium battery, the i3 is expected to boast a range of 80 miles per charge and perhaps as much as 100 miles, according to details released so far. The performance is expected to be somewhat above that of other plug-in vehicles currently on the market, producing an expected 170 horsepower. In terms of price, it will certainly come in above your average car of a similar performance, but by BMW, and other EV standards, it certainly won’t be break the bank. BMW has indicated a retail price in the US of $35,000 (£22,300 approx), meaning it comes in slightly cheaper than the Ford Focus electric, which was released in limited parts of the US at the end of last year.

BMW i3 - Concept Electric Vehicle

BMW i3 - Concept Electric Vehicle

i3 Carbon Fibre Body

A novel feature of the i3 will be its carbon-fibre body, an expensive light-weight material that is yet to be used by electric manufacturers due to its high cost. But the benefits are significant, allowing BMW to up the range of the i3 and maintain impressive levels of performance. Although development partner Toyota has so far shunned the material in favour of high-tensile steel, the two automakers look set to continue joint development of battery technology.

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