• Mar 11th 2008 at 10:58AM
  • 12
BMW's U.S. success means that come 2012, it will be considered a large vehicle manufacturer here in the States. In preparation for that, BMW will decide this year on whether to make "an ecologically-compatible car for the U.S. market," most likely to help the automaker meet more stringent CAFE standards that are forthcoming. Incredibly, for a company known for its engines, this newest car venture would probably run on batteries according to CEO Norbert Reithofer. We mentioned that BMW is considering the return of the Isetta brand as its green leader, but small gas and diesel engines were proposed for that car, and it's already been signed off on. Which means that if BMW were to come out with a U.S.-only all-electric vehicle, it could be something all new. Of course, a battery-powered M5 doesn't sound so bad, either.
[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Where do I sign?
      • 7 Years Ago
      You'll know when BMW starts producing electric cars there is a serious change on the horizon. GM can't seem to get off the dime and Toyota continues to hem and haw so if they wait long enought someone will come along and mass produce the electric car sales away from them. Hurry up BMW; how about a spec "electric" for the track.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Nissan, GM and now BMW with talks of an all electric?

      I'll believe it when I see it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think the other performance/luxury premium-to-ultra-premium manufacturers are going to find themselves embarrassingly out of the techno-hip sweet spot if they aren't already planning an offensive like this.

      Think of it, when a celebrity can chose between a half million dollar Rolls or a ~$20K Prius, and they choose the Prius based on *image*, this should set off signals that change is coming. Traditionally technology (and its inherent expense and rarity) has been the thing-to-have, the thing that leads consumerism. It doesn't matter if it's cellphones or phonographs.

      If luxury marques are chasing the wrong bogey, they won't be relevant anymore. The real telltale is that what may seem extravagant one day is usually soon trickled down to the mainstream, particularly with technology which advances at a rate which causes it to become rapidly cheaper (less so with rare commodities like precious stones, metals, etc.). If we trace that pathway in reverse, we see that alternative propulsion vehicles of the future will descend from their more expensive luxury forebears.

      Vehicles that run on electricity, cheaper/renewable fuel, have negligible effects on the environment WILL all trickle down to the mainstream. If luxury makers don't realize this soon, they will find themselves the object of scorn as they produce irrelevant dinosaurs which guzzle fuel like it was a contest when the bragging right both their primary customers and society is after is exactly the opposite.

      As green comes in vogue, the rich are going to want it all first, and when it's here, they'll want it all without compromise. BMW is smart to take note of that now before the tides have changed away from their favor.
      • 7 Years Ago

      You are saying all the right things, but this is the auto industry and ignorance is bliss. Most car enthusiast don't view automobiles as tools like cellphones, laptops and other gadgets that supposedly make your life easier.

      For Electric car to be viable it needs to have consistency. GM could've been ahead of the game if they had continued with the EV1 model. They should've never given up on it and they would probably be in their tenth generation of the electric car. A new EV1 model would look and perform so much better that whatever BMW and Nissan puts out this year.

      GM blew it when they thought suing California Air Resources Board would be more cost effective than continue with low selling EV1.

      Ultimately its going to come down to customers deciding between the high price of electric car or the ever-increasing price of oil.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tesla has hinted about co-developing their third model with an "overseas" brand. Could be this one?

      Seems like a good matchup, both are performance oriented, Tesla gets a partner to help with mass production, BMW gets help with meeting emissions regulations so they can continue to produce their popular gas powered performance cars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why is everyone talking about an Isetta brand? The original was a regular BMW model and any new retro version could be as well. As Daimler's experience with smart has shown, the overheads involved in creating a new brand can turn profits into losses.

      An all-electric Isetta seems unlikely, but a regular parallel hybrid with RWD might be interesting. It could feature a turbocharged parallel twin or flat two engine with a cone-ring CVT. For added brownie points, BMW could throw in E85 compatibility or a CNG option.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Joe you need to research electric motors more. Performance standards would improve if they can figure out how to feed the electric motor with something lighter than batteries.
      • 7 Years Ago

      Right or wrong, I am stuptified to see people excited about all electric cars. I know I am a slightly older generation (I'm only 37 though) but I grew up loving cars, racing cars and generally part of the 'car culture.' There is absolutely nothing exciting about an electric car, period.

      IF and I do mean IF these things are the answer to our so called problems (another gray area) then if we have to drive them, so be it, but excitement is absolutely not an emotion I associate with this car. My current 335i is what I am excited about, and they can pry it from my cold dead hands.

      Why we need these cars is simply something that escapes my reasoning. If you plug all the cars in the US, we'll end up increasing our oil imports according to a lot of articles I've read, and increasing our emissions, because our power plants are so dirty. Where are the diesel's for the US market? What's wrong with 50mpg from a diesel car that is a real car I can place my family in safely and in comfort? What about hydrogen powered cars like the current 7 series Leno is driving? Of course, again, we're back to making hydrogen with power from coal fired plants....the theme here is America's infrastructure has gone to rot because of all this regulation. We need new refineries, new nuclear power plants, new solar plants, hydrogen plants....new.....oh, wait, oh yes, we spend 1 trillion a year in Iraq, too bad, so gov. can't do it, and the regulations keep business from doing it. Neat little box we're in! Thanks pols.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I would be all over an all-electric Isetta for under $20K.
      • 7 Years Ago
      An all-electric 3 series--commence drueling now!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like the idea of an all electric Isetta brand quite a bit.
      There could be stand alone Isetta/Mini dealerships in every city. I think it's important to separate Mini from BMW, in dealerships that is.
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