BMW i sub-brand announced with i3 / i8 [videos]

Will feature vehicle-independent services

BMW has officially announced the i sub-brand at the company's museum in Munich, Germany.

Set to be launch in 2013, the i lineup will originally consist of the i3 (Mega City) and i8 (Vision EfficientDynamics). Details are limited, but both models will be built at the Leipzig plant and ride on the "LifeDrive architecture" which has an aluminum chassis and a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) passenger cell.

Unlike MINI and Rolls-Royce, the new i models will retain the BMW logos - albeit with a blue ring around them. Furthermore, the vehicles will be distinguished by blue grille surrounds, aerodynamic side skirts, "stream flow" C-pillars, and "large but narrow" wheels.

Besides the plug-in hybrid and pure-electric technology, BMW i will emphasize "a range of vehicle-independent services." As part of this process, the company has setup an American-based capital investment group called BMW i Ventures. It will primarily focus on smartphone applications such as the MyCity app which provides users with information on public transportation, parking availability, and local entertainment.

Additional information will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show, so stay tuned.

Source: BMW

New BMW sub-brand: BMW i

  • BMW i stands for sustainable vehicles and mobility solutions 
  • Two models available from launch: BMW i3 and BMW i8 Mobility services complement core business
  • BMW i Ventures holding company founded


Munich. The new BMW sub-brand focused on developing sustainable mobility solutions has been launched. "BMW i represents a new movement in premium mobility. With the introduction of this new sub-brand, the BMW Group reaffirms its leadership as the most innovative and sustainable premium car company. The products and services have been conceived around a revolutionary approach: purpose designed and purpose built for sustainable, premium mobility. It's a new day in our industry; a new era for individual mobility. This is BMW i - Born Electric." said Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Marketing, in Munich on Monday.

In a first move, two models will be launched under the new sub-brand from 2013 - the BMW i3 and BMW i8. The BMW Group will also significantly expand its range of mobility services over the years ahead. To achieve this, a Venture Capital company was founded in New York City, BMW i Ventures, with an investment totalling 100 million US dollars.

"BMW i offers visionary cars and services, inspiring design, and an entirely new concept of premium mobility - all with a focus on sustainability", explained Robertson.

The BMW i brand comprises vehicles and services developed since 2007 as part of project i, a BMW Group think tank exploring sustainable mobility solutions.

It is the BMW Group's response to changing customer needs, including increasing demand for alternative drive trains, such as electric drive systems and hybrids. There is a widespread desire in megacities for solutions which intelligently combine the benefits of various mobility concepts in a single package.

Revolutionary vehicle concepts
"With BMW i, we are building on the success and strength of our core brand," emphasised Robertson. The BMW i3- previously known as the Megacity Vehicle - will be the BMW Group's first series-produced car for urban areas to be driven by electric power alone. The BMW i8, meanwhile, is based on the BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study. Its plug-in hybrid drive blends the sporting ability of a high-performance machine with the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car.

Both models are based on a revolutionary construction concept known as LifeDrive architecture. An aluminium chassis houses the powertrain, and the passenger cell consists of high-strength but extremely lightweight carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP). "Both cars have been designed specifically for their respective alternative drive systems.

We used the innovative architecture and CFRP to cancel out practically all of the extra weight added by the batteries. For our customers this means superior driving dynamics combined with significantly increased range using electric power," explains Klaus Draeger, BMW Board member responsible for development.

BMW i8 to be built in Leipzig
Like the BMW i3, the BMW i8 will also be manufactured at BMW's Leipzig plant. Around 400 million euros will be invested in new plant facilities and some 800 jobs will be created up to 2013. Development and production synergies will be achieved through both vehicles using the same component sets for the electric motors, power electronics, and high-voltage lithium-ion batteries.

A range of vehicle-independent services
An additional range of mobility services - which can also be used independently of the cars - will be an integral component of BMW i. This will allow the creation of a new, profitable area of business over the long term and attract new customers to the company's brands. "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." The focus is on solutions which will improve usage of existing parking spaces, as well as intelligent navigation systems with local information, intermodal route planning, and premium car-sharing.

In addition to services developed in-house, the BMW Group is pursuing collaborations with partner companies and exploring strategic capital investments in providers of mobility services. To this end, the venture capital company BMW i Ventures has the goal to expand the range of products and services offered by BMW i in the long term by taking stakes in highly innovative service providers.

New York-based My City Way is the first company in which BMW i Ventures has taken a stake. Of the partnership, Ian Robertson said, "I am thrilled to announce that we have just signed our first strategic partnership with My City Way. As a mobile app, My City Way provides users with information on public transportation, parking availability, and local entertainment for over 40 cities in the US. Another 40 cities will be part of the global rollout, including Munich, of course."

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Comments (20)

Decypha Decypha
What's that now? A Hooydonk Kink or something?
Feb 28th, 2011 12:32pm
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atlasmason atlasmason
a blue ring around the logo eh? lexus already does that with the emblems on their hybrids.
Feb 22nd, 2011 6:53pm
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M! M!
https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/pressclub/p/pcgl/startpage.html?left_menu_item=node__2&isHomepage=true check out their 'live streaming' from the press conference. may be you guys will understand more of the bmw i.
Feb 22nd, 2011 10:58am
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bordeauxman1 bordeauxman1
The second video is quite more interesting. The 2 concept are not very banging. But it's interesting to know that they prepare an electric SUV. BMW is so great for is SUV that i wait it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Feb 22nd, 2011 10:48am
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samintosh samintosh
They look really nice in sketches and animations, but the really Fugly once they are made into real cars LOL
Feb 22nd, 2011 1:39am
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v6s_stink v6s_stink
If you are going to give a line of cars a moronic, worn-out moniker ("i" really isn't a name), they should be no better looking than fugly. Imbecilic, insipid, imitative, and just stupid.
Feb 22nd, 2011 10:12am
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M! M!
m:i 8, anyone? ;)
Feb 22nd, 2011 12:50am
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andyjo3338 andyjo3338
They should have used ME for the sub(standard) brand, very appropriate as everything they is me me me likewise with their drivers, look at me, move over for me.
Feb 21st, 2011 9:31pm
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CDspeed CDspeed
I like the fact that both cars will still be badged as BMWs. Rather then a new brand name. I'm actually excited by the i idea and can't wait to take a test drive.
Feb 21st, 2011 9:16pm
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N20_Purge N20_Purge
i3, same name the processor in my laptop has. Seriously, the letter 'i' is overused nowadays. what's wrong with the letter 'j'?
Feb 21st, 2011 9:15pm
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Tonie Tonie
Is this lineup the reason BMW and Bangle split some time ago?
Feb 21st, 2011 8:57pm
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It's all "i" everything isn't it now? Apple "i" Hyundai "i" and now BMW "i" gimme a break
Feb 21st, 2011 8:53pm
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jerry05cod4 jerry05cod4
apple invented "i" so ill give them a break and credit
Feb 22nd, 2011 12:11am
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SigSauer SigSauer
I'm sure the letter "i" has been in the English alphabet longer than Apple, or even Steve Jobs have been alive. Saying that if anyone uses that letter should give credit to them is stupid.
Feb 22nd, 2011 1:18am
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Microice Microice
Hyundai already has the 'i'... Manufacturers need to stop wanting to make us feel guilty about polution with the overpriced hybrid cars that are less frugal than a 1999 VW Lupo 3L.
Feb 21st, 2011 8:43pm
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cronan cronan
They have to stop using the "i" on the regular models now to differentiate the sub-brand.
Feb 21st, 2011 8:40pm
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v6s_stink v6s_stink
Stupid name.
Feb 21st, 2011 8:24pm
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bavar bavar
Stupid post.
Feb 21st, 2011 8:40pm
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CDspeed CDspeed
At least the name isn't as bad as Mega City.
Feb 21st, 2011 9:06pm
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andyjo3338 andyjo3338
Another stoopid post for a really stewpit name.
Feb 21st, 2011 9:38pm
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