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BMW's long-coming electric vehicle range has a name, and it's not Megacity, the title the project had carried until now. The new BMW sub-brand will be known simply as BMW i, and according to BMW, i represents a new movement in premium mobility.

Launching in 2013, the BMW i range will arrive with two vastly different models, one driven by electricity alone and the other by a hybrid powertrain.

The first will be the i3, itself previously known as the Megacity Vehicle, and it will be BMW's first series-produced car developed for urban areas and driven by electric power alone.

The BMW i8 is the long-awaited production version of BMW's popular Vision EfficientDynamics concept, powered by a plug-in hybrid drivetrain that BMW has developed to combine high-performance power with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car.

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

Both models will be built at BMW's Leipzig plant in Germany, with a 400 million euro investment going into preparing the facilities for production of BMW's groundbreaking new models.

Technical details have yet to be revealed, although it is understood that the 125kW/250Nm electric motor in the upcoming BMW 1 Series ActiveE - not a part of the i range - will feature, in some form, in the i3.

It is also unclear what the hybrid arrangement of the i8 sports car will present, although the Vision EfficientDynamics concept combined a 1.5 litre diesel engine with two electric motors to create 245kW and a 4.8 second 0-100km/h time.

source: themotorreport

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