Despite the badly timed British weather, the all-new electric BMW i3 was revealed in London yesterday to over 250 representatives from a wide range of European bodies and organisations responsible for shaping the future of sustainable urban mobility and creating the framework for the up-take of electric vehicles.
Guest of honour, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin MP, reinforced the commitment of the UK Government to support industry in its efforts to develop and deploy a growing range of innovative low-carbon vehicles and mobility services that will help to ‘decarbonise’ the transport sector and make urban mobility increasingly sustainable.
Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW, unveiled the BMW i3 to an audience that included government policy officials, representatives from London borough councils, energy companies and infrastructure providers, financial analysts, investment advisors and non-governmental organisations. Participants from France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden were among the attendees at an international event that explored the important contributions being made by car manufacturers, policy-makers, academic institutions and many other organisations to accelerate the transition to a low carbon future.
Robertson said: ‘The BMW i3 heralds the dawn of a new era for individual mobility and for the BMW Group. True to a genuine BMW, the BMW i3 has strong emotional appeal, outstanding product substance and a guarantee of sheer driving pleasure. Working together with governments, city mayors and other key partners, we are confident that this exciting new solution for urban mobility will provide customers with an attractive offer for electromobility and successfully address the environmental challenges facing a growing number of megacities around the world.’
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: ‘It is fantastic to see a great brand like BMW introducing such a striking electric vehicle to the mainstream market. This shows that, like Government, industry is serious about this technology. We have just announced an extra £500m to drive the growing market for ultra-low emission vehicles. That announcement underscores our ambitions for this sector and will help to create a stable and buoyant industry to support it. This is some of the most long-sighted and comprehensive support for these vehicles anywhere in the world and will put Britain in the vanguard of this growing market.’
London is leading the way in electric car use in the UK. With funding from the UK Government, in 2011, the Mayor of London launched ‘Source London’, the UK’s first city-wide electric vehicle charging point network and membership scheme, as part of his on-going commitment to increase electric car use in the capital in order to improve air quality and reduce carbon. He also has plans to introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London from 2020 which would see dramatic benefits in air quality and provide a major spur for the further development and mass take-up of zero and low emission vehicles in the capital.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “We have to get the conditions right to ensure motorists can comfortably take up the option of electric vehicle motoring and this latest innovation should help to make zero-emission vehicles a more common choice for consumers. In the capital we’ve also introduced Source London, a city-wide public charging network, to make the transition to electric even easier, helping to drive down pollution and improve quality of life.”
A panel discussion involving experts from five different European countries looked at the effectiveness of tax incentives, the growing charging infrastructure network, the introduction of innovative car-sharing schemes and the use of renewable energy to power electric vehicles as key factors in determining the future success of electromobility.
The all-new BMW i3 will be delivered to UK customers in November 2013. It is the world’s first premium electric vehicle designed from the ground up to be powered by an electric drive system. It is also a world first by virtue of bringing together visionary design, pioneering technology and an innovative vehicle concept that includes a passenger cell made of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP).