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BMW Confirms ‘iʼ Brand; Provides Hint of First Two Models

A sports car and city car will be first to get the i designation, with both models to come from BMW’s Leipzig plant beginning in 2013.

BMW confirms it will launch a new sub-brand, called BMW i, for its electrified vehicles, including the i3 and i8 models revealed in silhouette form in sketches released this week.

Ward’s first reported plans for the new brand last month.

The two new models will launch in 2013. Both will be built at BMW’s Leipzig, Germany, plant, which will draw E400 million ($548 million) in new investment and add some 800 jobs.

The i3 city car, previously referred to as the Megacity Vehicle, and i8 sports coupe, inspired by the Vision EfficentDynamics concept vehicle, will share component sets that include the electric motors, power electronics and high-voltage lithium-ion batteries, the auto maker says.

The 4-seat i3 4- is all electric, and reportedly will sell in the $30,000-$40,000 range. The i8 is a plug-in hybrid that will mate a gasoline engine with battery power.

In addition, BMW is launching a New York-based venture-capital company called BMW i Ventures that will be charged with offering an expanded range of mobility services in coming years.

“Our commitment to car-enabled mobility services, like BMW ConnectedDrive, will be significantly expanded under BMW i,” says Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing.

BMW i Ventures will focus on solutions that improve use of existing parking spaces, as well as intelligent navigations systems and premium car-sharing.

The offshoot already has acquired a stake in New York-based My City Way, which offers a mobile app providing information on public transportation, parking availability and local entertainment. The service will be expanded to another 40 cities, including Munich.

TAGS: Vehicles
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