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BMW goes electric but Chevrolet backtrack

BMW goes electric but Chevrolet backtrack

In an interesting week for electric vehicles, BMW announced a joint venture with Toyota to build a better EV battery as Chevrolet move to dampen criticism of their reported Volt Battery failure that was reported here last week.

BMW this week announced its i3 and i8 concept cars prior to the Los Angeles Motor show.  As part of its new 'i' brand for sustainable motoring, these stunning concepts bring together an electric drivetrain, carbon reinforced plastic body work and an innovative platform. 

The i3 electric city car is also known as the 'megacity vehicle'. It resembles the X3 but has so called 'suicide doors' - rear doors that open opposite from those at the front to allow easier access. The i8 is a plug in hybrid sports car with gull wings, with twice as many headlights as the i3, that use laser technology to provide more intensity with less energy.

BMW also announced a research partnership this week with Toyota to speed up development of litihim ion battery cells. As part of the collaboration, BMW will supply it's clean diesel engines to Toyota for sale in Europe from 2014. BMW claim over 60 mpg for their new generation diesel range. The medium to long term aim of the partnership is to develop batteries for both EV's and hybrids, as demonstrated by the announcement of the 'i' range. Toyota have great experience in this market and are planning to expand their range of 'Prius' vehicles. They also have a partnership wtih Tesla motors and are planning a new EV version of their Rav 4 range.

Click here to see a video of the BMW EV project from Wired.com.

Chevrolet however have had an embarrasing week, following the announcement of fires to the Volt batteries, following the EV crash tests by the NHTSA [see issue 16.11.11] . Fearing a public relations disaster, GM offered to supply loan vehicles to purchasers, pending the outcome of the investigation. The Volt has a range of 40 miles with it's electric battery and a total range of 379 with petrol and battery combined. GM plan to increase production of the Volt from 10,000 last year to 60,000. They maintain that the incidents arose long after the crash tests were completed, and do not support claims that li ion batteries are unsafe.

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