The promotion of all-electric or plug-in hybrid alternative propulsion vehicles is more than a matter of selling the technology. As automakers struggle to accommodate the demand for low or zero emission vehicles, they have been playing a delicate act of marketing these new products. Attempting to connect their well-positioned brand to the future exploration of automobiles, a careful balance must be maintained in assuring the creation does not become a black sheep in the herd. Associated as builder of some of the finest driving automobiles sold in the world, BMW plans to present their upcoming electric vehicle under a name sub-brand. To be badged as the BMW i, vehicles will set out on a path of unique design and engineering philosophy untethered to the established conventions of the German automotive brand.
Having brought to light their Megacity concept late 2010, the BMW i is the further personification of integrating lightweight construction and renewable materials into a bullish, new electric vehicle brand. During the Saturday night presentation where the BMW i colours over the BMW Museum in Munich, the new sub-brand is also championing what the German auto company says is “Naturally vibrant, highly aesthetic images with a futuristic atmosphere will characterise communications”. Showing off two vehicle stretches showcasing the preliminary appearance of the BMW i brand, many will note the compact hatchback is unmistakably the concept shown for the BMW Megacity vehicle. With this hatchback now acknowledged as the i3, a more sportier coupe version is also featured designated as the i8 concept.
Presenting the styling direction, previous news has already cemented proof of the BMW i powertrain. By the end of this year, a fleet of 1,000 electric-powered BMW 1 Series car (called the BMW ActiveE) will be conducting real-world evaluation of an electric powertrain expected to be the basis of the BMW i vehicles. Specifications for the BMW ActiveE states the use of 168 horsepower electric motor being sparred by energy from a lithium-ion battery.
In the past 5 years, companies have used the ‘i’ symbol ad nauseam. Used to market everything from consumer electronics to teenage starlets, this is not even BMW’s first use for the ‘i’ identification. In some cases, the letter within a product was used as a quick cash-in. However, a half-hearted effort is not the intention of the new BMW i sub-brand. Expected to invest 400 million Euros (over 542 million US dollars), this new product arrangement due for 2013 is said to create 800 jobs around the new all-electric vehicles.