Megacity Vehicle: World’s 1st Volume Carbon Fiber Passenger Cell.

Many enthusiasts have been complaining that BMW needs to make cars lighter, BMW needs to add a KERS system to performance cars, needs to build a high end sports car to compete with Audi ‘s R8- well BMW has just redefined mobility by taking a HUGE leap ahead of the competition. BMW has succeeded in building the first volume vehicle to use Carbon Fiber in the passenger cell, if that is not revolutionary we don ‘t know what is. For a detail by detail account of the MCV please see here. We have covered BMW ‘s supply chain for Carbon Fiber in relation the MCV here in May, it covers 3 continents and a variety of stops along the way before this amazing passenger cell is even produced.

Note: This press release is a 1:1 copy of the original issued by BMW headquarters in Germany and does not cater to the US market.

Munich. The BMW Group is once again breaking new ground with the Megacity Vehicle (MCV), due to come onto the market in 2013: “The Megacity Vehicle is a revolutionary automobile. It will be the world’s first volume-produced vehicle with a passenger cell made from carbon. Our LifeDrive architecture is helping us to open a new chapter in automotive lightweight design. Indeed, this concept allows us to practically offset the extra 250 to 350 kilograms of weight typically found in electrically powered vehicles.” says Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board of Management for Development.

“The drive system remains the heartbeat of a car, and that also applies to electric vehicles,” said Draeger. “Powertrains also remain a core area of expertise of Bayerische Motoren Werke. Electromobility and the hallmark BMW driving pleasure make an excellent match, if you go about things the right way. For this reason we are developing the powertrain for the Megacity Vehicle in-house – that includes the electric motor, the power electronics and the battery system.”

The electrification of a vehicle requires new concepts in vehicle architecture and body construction in order to exploit the potential of the new emission-free drive system to optimum effect. With the revolutionary LifeDrive concept, the BMW Group engineers are developing the car’s architecture from scratch and adapting it to the demands and conditions of future mobility. The goal: to offset the additional weight of an electric vehicle – typically 250 to 350 kilograms. To this end, the BMW Group is focusing on the innovative high-tech material carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP).

The LifeDrive concept consists of two horizontally separated, independent modules. The Drive module integrates the battery, drive system and structural and crash functions into a single construction within the chassis. Its partner, the Life module, consists primarily of a high-strength and extremely lightweight passenger cell made from CFRP. Furthermore, the new vehicle architecture opens the door to totally new production processes which are both simpler and more flexible, and use less energy.

The BMW Group is also aiming to be the force behind the best drive systems over the years ahead – systems boasting outstanding efficiency, performance and smoothness, even if it is electricity rather than fossil fuels that are converted into propulsion. To this end, the BMW Group is vigorously driving forward the technical development of electric powertrains. The BMW Group’s centre of expertise for electric drive systems brings together development, manufacturing and procurement specialists under one roof. All their efforts are focused on the implementation and typically BMW interpretation of the new generation of drive systems. Ultimately, electric vehicles not only provide a zero-local-emission and low-noise form of propulsion; their ability to deliver a totally new and extremely agile driving experience is also impressive.

The new architecture of the MCV also gives the vehicle designers additional freedom when it comes to creating a new aesthetic for sustainable urban mobility solutions.

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  • Drill

    Wait… what!? I’d swear the chassis in those pics was silver yesterday???

  • lava

    any explanation of what the damage to the door sills is about? Crash testing mule?

  • The image is of a crashed test mule.


  • Soren

    BMW recently launched a carbon fiber joint venture in Moses Lake, WA – perhaps we’ll see the MCV here (one day). Car parts are of course regularly shipped long distances; as in German engines used in US manufactured cars, but I can’t help to think that shipping something as bulky as a passenger cell from Eastern Washington to Europe only would make sense if the MCV eventually also was sold here.

  • Soren- Back in May we had an article on how BMW was incorporating Carbon Fiber, where things would be made etc. you may enjoy it:

  • Eliot

    I always thought this project was a rather meaningless vehicle in the grand scheme of things. Sure, it would lower the company’s emissions numbers and bring more efficiency to the brand, but it was never going to be a really desirable car.

    Surprisingly, that’s now changed. Really interesting technology at work here. Should have striking design as well. Honestly, if the 200 km range is a reliable figure (and not one that will drop to 100 km if driven normally), I really wouldn’t mind driving one of these around. Cool project.

  • lava

    the only thing that worries me is the wholly over optimistic rendering of a low and streamlined car with wheel/tires with 0 sidewall vs the chunky upright passenger cell we see here. I’d rather not see these development sketches until the car is revealed because all it does is build false expectations and disappointment. Concepts falling so far from production is a failing to me. Either the conceptual artists are too disconnected from reality, or engineering and manufacturing simply can’t live up to the companies ambition…

  • Soren

    Michael, Thank you!

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