BMW's MCV

BMW has shown sketches of its new Megacity Vehicle

BMW is getting ready for series production of no-emission vehicles in Germany. The premium-car maker is investing 400 million euros in a plant in Leipzig in eastern Germany to build its Megacity Vehicle.

“The production of the Megacity Vehicle in Germany is a clear commitment by BMW to Germany as a high-tech location,” BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said at an event in Leipzig. The vehicle will offer customers ”the first purpose-built electric vehicle for urban areas,” he added.

Altogether, BMW and its joint-venture partner SGL will spend 530 million euros on the project. BMW plants in Leipzig and Landshut, as well as joint-venture locations such as Wackersdorf and Moses Lake in the US state of Washington will receive the bulk of the investment. About 1,000 new jobs will be created.

The BMW-SGL joint venture will make the carbon fibers that will let the automaker reduce the weight of the MCV.

Although BMW's MCV won't reach showrooms until 2013, the carmaker has released sketches of what the car will look like. Chief Designer Adrian van Hooydonk didn't provide any details, but said the model would be different but clearly recognizable as a BMW.

The sustainability credo will carry over from the vehicle into the production process. BMW plans to cut in half the energy needed to build the MCV, while water consumption will be reduced by 70 percent.

BMW intends to make Leipzig a center of expertise for the production of electric cars. The company’s ActiveE, which is based on the 1 Series Coupe, will roll off production lines in Leipzig in early 2011.