One of the top luxury car makers, BMW, stated on Friday that 400 million Euros (560 million dollars) will be invested in the manufacturing of electric cars by 2013, as German producers try to fill in the gap between them and their global rivals.
Following the project launched by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, BMW began to broaden its plant in the eastern city of Leipzig. The head of BMW, Norbert Reithofer, said that the vehicle would be “the first production model with a carbon fibre passenger compartment.”
Last year, BMW partnered up with German SGL Carbon, one of the worldwide leading manufacturers of carbon-based products, a material most used in sport cars manufacturing, mainly due to its high strength, light weight, heat and corrosion resistance, etc. The material exhibits unique properties which are well suited to the type of electric cars now under development.
Despite their names, the German manufacturers of powerful saloons and sport utility vehicles failed to keep up with their competitors in Asia and the US, when it comes to electric autos. For example, the Japanese brand Nissan is ready to launch the sale of its Leaf in December.
Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, forecasts the inauguration of a new electric Smart car in 2012, whereas Audi, owned by Volkswagen, anticipates a launch of its E-Tron at the end of the same year. Even VW plans to produce a model of its own in 2013.
On the European Federation for Transport and Environment selected specifically BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen for their efforts to manufacture cars that will meet an EU target of 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer (g/km) by 2015.