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BMW's Megacity EV appears to have all the makings of one unique little runabout. The future city car is, after all, expected to be a battery-powered BMW that will feature a body-on-frame chassis made of aluminum and carbon fiber. Automotive News reports that the unusualness of the Megacity EV won't end with exotic materials, as the "buying" process will be unique as well.

We placed quotes around the word "buying" because BMW sales boss Ian Robertson has told AN Europe that the company wants to lease the Megacity instead of buying, saying that people should purchase "the use of the car." If the Megacity ends up being a lease-only affair, it will be far from the only EV or fuel cell vehicle to receive such treatment (the Honda FCX Clarity and the General Motors EV1 come to mind). But the Megacity will apparently be available as more of a short-term lease vehicle possibly following the model of Daimler's 'Car2Go' program in Germany and Austin, Texas.

So why would BMW opt for short-term leases instead of the more traditional buy or lease models? The true buy price of the city car would likely be far too high for one, and the German automaker will never likely recoup its development costs on this one model.

BMW will reportedly test the short-term leasing waters with the 1-Series-based ActiveE beforehand. We don't know exactly when the Megacity will be available for lease, but we do know that the EV range will receive an official name on February 21.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I see the leasing of electric cars as a response to ecological and liability issues. By forcing the "return" of electric vehicles to the manufacturer at the end of a lease term, they can ensure that the battery packs and other potentially dangerous parts of the vehicles are recycled responsibly and safely.

      Because you can count on the fact that when Joe Dimbulb decides to bury his Leaf in the backwoods, the lawyers aren't going to chase Dimbulb for cleanup costs and "punitive damages." They're going to leap right over him and reach into Nissan's deep pockets for not taking the car in the dead of night and allowing Dimbulb to create his homemade toxic dump.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lithium batteries are non-toxic and actually aren't an environmental hazard.. so the only reason someone would want to recycle it is to recover the metals inside. That is why they are not being recycled as of now.

        If automakers were responsible for the cleanup of a car at the end of it's life, everyone would be driving an electric. Look at the fluids that are in a gas car and you'll understand. Oh, and every gas car has a large lead acid battery.. which consists of lead ( highly toxic when leached into the water supply ) and acid ( not exactly the stuff you want your forest friends coming in contact with :P )

        I would argue to say that an electric car based on lithium batteries is far less toxic than a gas car. An electric car does contain some fluids in it, like gear oil, antifreeze, and brake fluid... but it has such small amounts that it's really negligible.
      • 4 Years Ago
      BMW already tested the short term leasing waters with the BMW MINI e.

      Aargh this is annoying. Some companies are still stuck in 1996.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Of course.
      You can never buy the cool/interesting/futuristic cars.

      That would make too much sense.
      • 4 Years Ago
      cliche evil
      • 4 Years Ago
      lease? so... bmw's telling us it's too expensive to actually sell, ala the fcx. great. i thought bmw had capable engineers. I get it if they can't compete with the r8 but at least put a decent effort towards fighting the leaf. womp womp.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lol at your vw replies man. The m3 and the previous m5/m6 are pretty much r8 replies if not better sans the engine location. You should know that by now. Where I live evs are never gonna happen anytime soon so I dot miss them but they successfully tested out the minie didn't they. I'm pretty sure they know what they're doing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      And BMW will be vilified when the company takes them all back and crushes them.

      Blah blah. Boo hoo.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Virtually all manufacturers provide a BMW 4-Series warranty with the purchase of the vehicle and attempt to sell you an extended auto warranty in addition to the manufacturer's warranty. For your BMW 4-Series, the better alternative is to directly buy your warranty coverage from an after market BMW 4-Series extended auto warranty provider.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Really cool presentation in Munich!

      • 4 Years Ago
      this lease thing worked so well for EV1....