BMW wants to produce a new line of vehicles with a focus on sustainability. But fearing that it wouldn’t mesh well with its current line of performance-tuned luxury vehicles, BMW has created an entirely new sub-brand, called BMW i.
The German automaker promises that the new i brand will still boast impressive performance as well as luxury, but the brand’s main focus will be on sustainable vehicles and mobility solutions. Rather than use BMW’s familiar “Ultimate Driving Machine” tagline, the i brand will be launched with the tagline “Born Electric.”
New vehicles in the i lineup will be powered exclusively by electric and hybrid powertrains. The BMW i3, previously known as the Megacity Vehicle, will be the BMW Group’s first series-produced car for urban areas and it will be powered solely by electricity. The other new model in the pipeline is the i8, based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study. This vehicle will feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain and will provide high-performance with the fuel economy and emissions of a small car.
“BMW i offers visionary cars and services, inspiring design, and an entirely new concept of premium mobility – all with a focus on sustainability”, said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Marketing. “With BMW i, we are building on the success and strength of our core brand.”
While there are plenty of automakers introducing hybrids, EVs, and eco-friendly tech, BMW wants to foster the development of sustainable technology even further through BMW i Ventures, its all-new venture capital company. The new holding company has already begun investing in companies and has a $100 million fund to spread among early- and mid-stage mobility and travel tech startups. One such startup is My City Way, a company whose self-titled app provides details on public transportation, parking and entertainment in more than 40 cities in the U.S.
“Mobility requirements are changing in rapidly expanding megacities,” adds Ian Robertson. “Our commitment to car-enabled mobility services, like BMW ConnectedDrive, will be significantly expanded under BMW i. We’ll also grow our car-related premium mobility services. What’s truly groundbreaking is that we’ll begin offering car-independent premium mobility services. BMW i aims to provide customized mobility solutions across a seamless network of premium products and premium services.”