BMW is gearing up to unveil its first electric car under the new BMW i brand, according to reports from Germany. The Munich-based automaker is set to unveil the i3, the first of two initial all-electric models, this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, writes German motoring blog Auto Motor and Sport.
The new model will feature a 100 kW electric motor and a range of 160 kilometers, says the blog, with an expected market launch in 2013.
The BMW i sub-brand was launched earlier this year by the premium German manufacturer, promising to put two electric vehicles on the road in the shape of the i3 and the larger i8.
Despite not releasing more than design sketches to date, the sub-brand has already made a name for itself, with over 200,000 fans on Facebook and a high-profile sponsorship of technology blog Mashable’s Global Innovation Series.
It announced via Twitter this week that the first plant for carbon fiber production was ready and that test production of the materials used in the lightweight i3 and i8 models was set to begin.
This could be an important step — unlike other electric models such as the Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the i3 will be built ground-up as an electric vehicle, allowing BMW engineers to experiment with the electric concept.
However, it does mean that the design could change dramatically from the Mega City Vehicle, upon which the i3 is reportedly based, and even the car which is presented in Frankfurt, before 2013.
The 64th Frankfurt Motor Show runs September 15-25 in Frankfurt, Germany.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.