BMW’s new i brand may just be the closest connotation to an oil free society to date – closer than any other developments within the auto industry. The German carmaker from Bavaria has made concerted efforts to showcase the global intentions of the brand, clearly pinpointing their mission statement. I personally witnessed the BMW i recently at the Frankfurt Auto Show and on billboards around the world. Equating to “sustainable vehicles and mobility solutions” the brand is not only sexy, it’s innovative.
BMW has also launched a Venture Capital company in NY — BMW i Ventures — that will invest up to $100 million dollars to advance the project for a 2013 debut. New plant facilities will also be built to house the production of the vehicle. Devised as a plug-in hybrid, the i8 is the next evolution of BMW’s Vision EfficientDynamics concept. The company labels their new auto invention LifeDrive architecture, which is comprised of an aluminium frame that houses the drive module, with electric motors at the front wheels, a Lithium-ion battery to power those motors, and an internal combustion engine placed over the rear axle. The passenger cell, or passenger compartment is engineered from high-strength and lightweight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP). Incorporating ConnectedDrive form their current product line-up, a range of advanced telematics and navigational features will enhance driver information with public transportation, parking availability, and local entertainment.