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BMW puts €400m into electric car race

The Local · 5 Nov 2010, 14:22

Published: 05 Nov 2010 14:22 GMT+01:00

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BMW has begun to extend its plant in the eastern city of Leipzig in a project launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to produce a series model auto it has dubbed Megacity.

Norbert Reithofer, head of BMW, said in a statement that the car would be "the first production model with a carbon fibre passenger compartment."

BMW formed a joint venture last year with SGL Carbon, a German specialist in the material that is mostly used at present in sports cars owing to its strong resistance, light weight, and high cost.

The first two qualities are well suited to the kind of electric vehicles now under development.

But German manufacturers of powerful sedans and sports utility vehicles have fallen behind competitors in Asia and the United States in the field of electric cars.

The Japanese brand Nissan, for example, is set to launch sales of its Leaf model in December.

Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, forecasts a roll-out of an electric Smart car in 2012, and Audi, owned by Volkswagen, foresees a launch of its e-tron at the end of that year.

VW plans to add a model of its own in 2013.

Story continues below…

On Thursday, the European Federation for Transport and Environment singled out BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen for lagging behind in effort to produce cars that will meet an EU target of 130 grammes of CO2 per kilometre (g/km) by 2015.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:47 November 5, 2010 by jamano
Clearly cutting edge technology for BMW means 6.0 L win turbocharged, Valvetronic, Double VANOS and High Precision Injection engine. Not bad for sure, but also nothing we haven't seen before for sure.
01:22 November 6, 2010 by Aschaffenburgboy
Jamano, you don't understand... Germany generates a big chunk from it's income by taxing fuel. It is not really the car companies that have been lagging behind, it is the German government. They did not want electric cars to hit the road until they had successfully cleared the great recession. So as Jesus said when he was posing on the cross, it is done!
13:00 November 8, 2010 by jamano
Aschaffenburgboy, this is quite clear. The road tax is incorporated into fuel price as well. So a shift from petrol to EVs will require also a new vignette system. However this shift is inevitable to come and automakers should have started work by the time the tendencies are evident. Also they could develop electrical cars and charging stations abroad while leaving Germany for any reason without mass EV market.
02:22 November 9, 2010 by franconia
are you sure Nissans LEAF will fly without charging stations in the US? You can charge it at home but on the road? You are going to ask a friendly Neighbor with Shotgun in frontyard ,if he lets you plug in for an hour?
08:19 November 9, 2010 by jamano
Nissan will install a charging station in each LEAF dealership. However since those are only about 40 in the US your home charging dock will be your primary charging station; if not only in the area.
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