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Thursday, July 23, 2009

BMW City EV to hit U.S. market by 2012

BMW will launch its first battery-powered electric vehicle under its Project i program in the United States by 2012. Internally dubbed the ‘City’, the upcoming EV will help BMW comply with California’s forthcoming Zero Emission Vehicle requirements.

CEO Norbert Reithofer has revealed that the City will be a three-door hatchback specifically designed for the U.S. market. Looking like the Isetta bubble car of the 1950s, the new EV version will be low-slung with short overhangs and a coupe-like profile. Despite its small footprint and sleek styling, the City will offer seating for four.

Power will come from a lithium-ion battery pack with a range of about 100 miles. BMW is also developing a range of gas and diesel engines for the City, although those variants will likely be reserved for developing regions – particularly China.

BMW has yet to decide if the new vehicles will be sold under the BMW or MINI banner, and hasn’t even officially ruled out the addition of a new brand.

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