BMW Investing $561 Million in One Facility to Build Megacity Electric Car

By · November 05, 2010

BMW Megacity electric car concept sketch

At this point many readers know that when BMW's Megacity electric car reaches the market in 2013 it will be rather unique amongst the other electric car offerings proliferating at the time. Today BMW showed just how committed it is to the Megacity concept by announcing a whopping €400 million (~$561 million) investment in an existing Leipzig, Germany, manufacturing plant to get it ready to build the company's first electric car.

By the time 2013 rolls around the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt will have a big head start in the race to win the hearts and minds of the next generation of car buyer, and there will be many other plug-in offerings on the market... but will they have a carbon fiber frame wrapped in aluminum sheeting? Will they be aimed at the very lucrative market of hip, urban consumers that is sure to be overwhelmingly more accepting of electric cars initially than your standard Joe? No. Which is why BMW's first mass-market EV offering is an intriguing concept.

Expected to come in somewhere between the luxury world of a Tesla or a Fisker, and the entry market world of the Nissan LEAF, BMW has staked out an interesting target with its EV marketing strategy. Full of ambitious new technology and marked with hip industrial styling, the Megacity may just be the equivalent of an Apple product in the burgeoning EV world.

"By producing the Megacity Vehicle in Germany the BMW Group is demonstrating a clear commitment to Germany as a high-tech location," said Dr Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. "With this vehicle we are revolutionizing automotive design and production, and offering our customers the first purpose-built electric vehicle for urban areas. This will be the world’s first volume-produced car with a passenger compartment made from lightweight CFRP, as less weight enables a longer range. We made a conscious decision to produce the car in Germany, at our plant in Leipzig – our newest and most cutting-edge facility with the most flexible structures."

Altogether BMW says they will invest €530 million (~$744 million) in bringing the Megacity to market, most of which is devoted to upgrading the Leipzig plant, but some of which has been invested in building a facility in Moses Lake, Washington, that will be the hub for construction of the advanced carbon fiber frame.

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