BMW may soon become the ultimate electric driving machine. The upscale German auto maker, which we first learned in April had plans for something called a Megacity electric vehicle, released some more tantalizing details about it this week. This includes the fact that the car will have a passenger enclosure which is made from a carbon frame.
What’s the big deal about a carbon frame you ask? It has to do, according to the New York Times, with weight. This lighter design reportedly may allow BMW to “offset the additional weight that batteries add to the car and increase its range.” This is part of something BMW calls the LifeDrive concept, which “consists of two horizontally separated, independent modules. The Drive module integrates the battery, drive system and structural and crash functions into a single construction within the chassis. Its partner, the Life module, consists primarily of a high-strength and extremely lightweight passenger cell” that is made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic.
The Megacity Vehicle, when it comes to the market in 2013, is having this architecture developed from scratch by in-house engineers. Being that this is BMW, it isn’t just aiming for an electric car you climb into and drive – rather it wants to target the whole user experience. Or, as BMW puts it, “ultimately electric vehicles not only provide a zero-local-emission and low-noise form of propulsion; their ability to deliver a totally new and extremely agile driving experience is also impressive.”
“The drive system remains the heartbeat of a car, and that also applies to electric vehicles,” said Klaus Draeger, one of BMW’s executives, in a statement. “Powertrains also remain a core area of expertise of Bayerische Motoren Werke. Electromobility and the hallmark BMW driving pleasure make an excellent match, if you go about things the right way. For this reason we are developing the powertrain for the Megacity Vehicle in-house – that includes the electric motor, the power electronics and the battery system.”