PHOTO CAPTION: TUM Visio.M light electric car concept seen as starting point for BMW, Daimler light electric car initiative.

Rivals Team Up to Developer More Affordable Electric Car

In collaboration with Technical University of Munich, BMW and Daimler are working on from-the-ground-up design for lighter, more affordable electric car using concept developed in TUM's Visio.M

Published: 07-May-2012

Electric vehicles (EVs) are really shaking up the automotive industry, and not just because of their zero-emission propulsion. These cars are also setting new trends in the business of automobile manufacturing: a new EV is just as likely to come from a small startup as it is from an established multinational conglomerate. One EV, the Visio.M is even being developed by two rival car companies. The result could be a cheaper, more efficient EV.

BMW and Daimler (parent company of Mercedes-Benz) are like the German equivalent of Ford and Chevy. Their cars may be a bit fancier than an F-150 or Silverado, but the two German companies compete just as fiercely, matching each other model-for-model while trying to gain dominance in the luxury car market.

Given that rivalry, seems unlikely that BMW and Daimler would collaborate on an EV, since working alone could give each company a competitive advantage. In fact, both companies have been working on their own EV projects. BMW recently launched a fleet of ActiveE and MiniE test cars to get real-world data on electric powertrain usage. Daimler is currently leasing electric Smart Fortwos to customers.


BMW Mini-E electric car.

BMW Mini-E lessees have adapted to the electric cars short-comings, including 80-100 miles range and two seats.

EV enthusiast Stefano Paris with BMW Mini-E electric car.

Study finds cars fun to drive and that 'range anxiety' was not a big issue for most drivers.

Concept electric-scooter in BMW camouflage.

Range target is 100 km with acceleration comparable to maxi-scooters with 600cc engines.


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