BMW is to play an active role in the ‘national plan for electromobility’ launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin yesterday.

The German government has set itself the ambitious target of putting 1m electric vehicles on the country’s roads by 2020 and has established a ‘basic conditions’ working group to achieve its aim.

Chaired jointly by member of the BMW board of management responsible for development, Klaus Draeger, and Professor Lars-Hendrik Röller from the European School of Management and Technology, the group will have input from the German manufacturer’s current field tests with its all-electric Mini E.
 
“Germany is well positioned to become an international leader in the area of electromobility over the long term,” said BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer. “To make this happen, our leaders in politics and industry have to be pulling in the same direction.”

Since mid-2009, BMW has been gathering information on everyday usage of electrically-powered vehicles with its worldwide pilot project trialling 600 electric Minis.

In Germany, the automaker and partner Vattenfall have supplied 50 cars to customers in Berlin as part of a project supported by the federal ministry for the environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety.
 
BMW said initial results after six months of usage from the Berlin study, show the electric car’s limited range is proving – “in the vast majority of cases” – to be sufficient for participants under everyday conditions.
 
Next year ,BMW will offer a second electric vehicle, the ActiveE, to customers as part of another pilot project. The results of the tests will be put into the development of the future Megacity vehicle, the group’s first series-produced EV.
 
The Megacity, which BMW dubs an “emission-free city car for the world’s metropolitan regions,” is currently being developed as part of project i, and will be available under a sub-brand from 2013.

With weight a key factor in determining the range of electrically powered vehicles, a large proportion of the Megacity’s materials will be composite material carbon-fibre reinforced plastic.