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BMW Invests $751 Million In Factory To Build Electric Vehicles

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On: Mon, Nov 8, 2010 at 5:27PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

BMW Invests $751 Million In Factory To Build Electric Vehicles

BMW's Megacity Vehicle will be the company's first battery-powered vehicle and BMW plans to market the car under a sub-brand. The German automaker recently reported its plans to invest $751 million in a new carbon fiber production plant in the U.S. that will build its Megacity electric-powered urban car. The new BMW factory is projected to create over 1,000 jobs, according to the company. The investment will also fund a $400 million expansion project for BMW’s Leipzig, Germany automotive plant. BMW plans to create 800 jobs at the eastern German site as it adds production of the Megacity Vehicle. The Leipzig factory currently assembles BMW's 1-series entry-premium car and X1 small crossover, and produces as many as 730 vehicles daily.

Megacity Vehicle sales numbers are projected to be very high. The price of the new BMW electric vehicle will be less than $60,000 Euros (a little over $84,000 U.S. dollars), according to BMW’s chief of development, Klaus Draeger.

BMW is working on designing the concept Megacity Vehicle in order to start to meet U.S. governmental/environmental regulations while expanding the product lineup. The German automaker expects that the fuel-efficient Megacity will help to boost sales to 2 million vehicles by 2020 from a forecast 1.4 million this year.

BMW plans to design the Megacity Vehicle as an all-electric car, due to the fact that the company feels that architecture specific to battery-powered driving is necessary. By contrast, Daimler (BMW’s rival) has a different perspective, developing cars on the same platform that can be either all-battery-powered, or hybrids with a combustion engine as well as electric-powered components.

The first battery-powered automobile offered by BMW will be sold under a new sub-brand when it arrives in dealers' showrooms in 2013.

“With this vehicle, we are revolutionizing automobile manufacturing,” CEO Norbert Reithofer said Friday at an event at the Leipzig plant.

BMW plans to use a carbon fiber safety cell (similar to those utilized in Formula One racecars) to protect passengers in the four-seat car. Carbon fiber is 50% lighter than steel which results in a light weight vehicle that requires less expensive batteries to power the vehicle.

SGL Carbon SE, the world’s largest carbon manufacturer, plans to build a new factory that will cost $100 million in order to produce the material for BMW’s Magacity Vehicle.

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