Prior to a launch at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW has dropped small pieces of information about its upcoming Megacity Vehicle. The latest news out of Munich is that the revolutionary Megacity Vehicle will influence BMW’s future products across the model lineup.
Revolutionary about the Megacity Vehicle is that it’s an electric vehicle, but perhaps even more revolutionary is how it’s constructed. BMW will build the MCV on what it calls its LifeDrive architecture, which separates the car’s structure into two separate modules, Life and Drive. The Life module is the basis for the passenger cell, which will be built primarily out of carbon fiber and aluminum — a first for a mass-produced vehicle, for a weight savings between 550 and 700 pounds to offset the EV drivetrain. The Drive module consists of the EV drivetrain, battery, and some of the vehicle’s structural and crash architecture.
This type of construction and its associated environmental ideals will shape BMW’s future products. The carbon-fiber construction, according to one BMW source, could double, or even triple, the life span of current production vehicles. The same BMW source told Autocar that the MCV’s radical construction method and architecture could show up in high-end BMWs as soon as a decade from now. The MCV itself isn’t due out for at least another three years.
BMW’s idea behind the unique LifeDrive architecture is to shed vehicle weight for lower vehicle emissions, as well as better fuel economy and performance.
The MCV’s relatively compact size will also influence future BMWs. BMW sources predict that, that as cities expand, governments will try and limit vehicular access to city centers or implement tolls for entering the city based on a vehicles size.
“Strategy number one [with the MCV] was an attempt to create the future,” the BMW source said, “understanding future customer needs and accessing key new technology. It is the only way to ensure growth in the long term.”