BMW prototype based on Vision EfficientDynamics concept

BMW prototype based on Vision EfficientDynamics concept

BMW is moving full steam ahead with its plans to offer new, radically more fuel efficient vehicles in the next decade.

Today, the company said it would put its striking Vision EfficientDynamics concept car into production, to be offered for sale starting in October 2013.

And, it signed off on an investment of €400 million (roughly $562 million at current exchange rates) to refit its Leipzig factory to build the carbon-fiber-bodied MegaCity battery-electric vehicle.

Together, the two announcements indicate that the company believes it can bring the "ultimate driving machine" feel and experience to vehicles that use far less fuel or, in the case of the battery electric MegaCity, only wall current.

BMW is reportedly considering the production version of the concept in the same vein as the legendary M1, which spawned the M Division performance group within the company. Volumes are thought to be 5,000 to 10,000 cars a year, with no pricing rumored as yet.

At a Leipzig trade fair where BMW made both announcements, the company showed a driveable prototype of the Vision EfficientDynamics. The 2+2 coupe includes gull-wing doors, and a minimal drag coefficient of 0.22 clearly contributes to its fuel economy.

But it's the powertrain that sets this apart from just another design study of a swoopy coupe.

The car is powered by the combination of a rear-mounted, three-cylinder turbocharged clean diesel engine running through a six-speed gearbox and a 25-kilowatt electric motor that together drive the rear wheels, plus another 15-kW motor to power the front wheels.

The car can run entirely on electric power, on engine torque only, or a combination of the two, in either two- or all-wheel-drive form. The car's 8.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack can be plugged into wall current to recharge, giving it an all-electric range of 30 miles. A 6.3-gallon diesel fuel tank provides another 400 miles.

BMW calculates that on the European test cycle, it will return 62.5 miles per gallon, which translates to 99 grams per kilometer of carbon dioxide emissions.

BMW Megacity Vehicle official teaser

BMW Megacity Vehicle official teaser

Meanwhile, the Leipzig factory changes will add 800 jobs once the the BMW MegaCity urban minicar goes into production.

Until then, the factory will also build several hundred ActiveE electric cars--based on the 1-Series two-door sedan--to give the company further data on real-world usage of electric cars. They will be distributed to drivers starting early next year.

[BMW via Motor Authority; BMW via Motor Authority]