Mike Stevens | Oct 27, 2009

AS THE AUTOMOTIVE industry moves faster toward an electric future, the goal for many carmakers will be to set their offerings apart from the pack.

According to British site Autocar, BMW is aiming to position its upcoming Project i electric vehicles at the premium end of the EV market.

mini-e

Where many of today's electric vehicles are based on existing volume-selling platforms (including BMW's own MINI E test car), BMW is working to develop dedicated platforms for its electric range.

Sebastian Schelper, project manager for many of BMW's electric prospects, told Autocar that the company's recent electric concepts shown at motor shows are all about the company's EV technology.

“[The concepts are] about the concept and engineering, not styling,” Mr Schelper said.

While the development of the technology is well underway, the question of Project i's styling has been a source of debate at BMW.

BMW confirmed in August that rather than launch a fourth brand for its Project i electric vehicles, a new brand under the BMW name would be created, similar to the company’s M Division performance range.

Recent reports suggested that the Project i models will be sold under the Isetta sub-brand.

Marc Gerard, responsible for the interior design of most BMW models, told Autocar that brand positioning will be the decider.

“Whether Project i cars fit below Mini, between Mini and BMW or above BMW is one of the important things we’re still deciding,” Mr Gerard said.

According to Autocar, many at BMW involved with Project i feel that the styling of the brand's electric vehicles should be as conventional as possible, to avoid alienating buyers already taking a big step by moving to an electric vehicle.

[via Autocar]

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