BMW has launched a green sub-brand that will group together a new stable of environmentally friendly vehicles.
The German car maker's first electric production vehicle and a production version of its 2009 Vision Efficient Dynamics hybrid concept car will be the foundation members.
The cutting-edge economy champions will wear an “i” badge, in the same way that BMW’s performance models have long carried an “M” prefix.
The electric vehicle, previously referred to as the MegaCity Vehicle, will be badged the i3, while the new eco-supercar will be called the i8.
The production supercar is expected later this year and is set to stay remarkably close to the radical concept car, including a three-cylinder turbo diesel engine and two electric motors developing 245kW.
BMW's stable of i-badged cars can also be expected to grow. The company is understood to have also registered trademarks for the model names i1, i2, i4, i5, i6, i7, and i9.
The announcement of a dedicated family of green BMW cars formalises the work done by “project-i”, a think-tank formed by the company in 2007 to pursue ambitious fuel efficiency and emissions targets.
The company has previously said it plans to launch the MegaCity Vehicle - now the i3 - in 2013, but a spokesman this week said that timeline could be brought forward.
“I wouldn’t be surprised, as the exclusive vehicle provider of the 2012 London Olympic Games, if they found a way to incorporate the Megacity into that in some way shape or form,” says BMW Australia spokesman Piers Scott.
“I believe they’re being a bit conservative with their timings and they’ll have something on the market by late 2012. More than likely they’ll coincide it with the London Olympics.”
It is believed BMW will release more information about the Megacity vehicle this week, before unveiling a concept version later this year.