BMW’s Megacity Vehicle (MCV) announced this week claims to aim a radical shift in urban transportation. The MCV is based on a new vehicle architecture dubbed “LifeDrive”, this concept is part of BMW’s small but evolving zero emissions motoring division. MCV is made up of two separate modules, the Drive module, which contains the drive system and battery, and the Life module, which is home to a lightweight passenger cell built from carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP).
Almost ¾ of the population on planet earth is estimated to live in cities by the year 2050, BMW proclaimed that we should expect to see this new technology enter the market by 2013. Having witnessed many competitors craft electrified variations of conventional internal combustion powered vehicles, the MCV breaks the mold by providing a simple architecture that allows for simpler production processes. Features such as increased rust resistance, light build and strength, are expected with CRFP; a composite material built with carbon fibers surrounded by a plastic resin. It’s as strong as steel and lighter than aluminum, all while maintaining safety. CFRP ensures the additional weight of an electric vehicle can be reduced anywhere from 250-350 kilograms.
Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board of Management of Development notes “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.”
Development is expected to reach a stage that produces a rear wheel drive vehicle that will generate well over 100 kW and reach 150km/h, far more than needed in urban environments. Roughly 100 lithium-ion batteries will be required to meet the 400 volt minimum for the vehicle while ample cooling will maintain optimal operating temperature.