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BMW says 'i' aye to EV and hybrid car

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BMW showed off the much-anticipated "i" sub-brand of battery-powered cars to the world yesterday.

The two models, made from carbon fibre and aluminium, are set for a 2013 release. The company says more BMW i cars will follow.

The BMW i3 - previously known as the Megacity Vehicle - is to be the group's first series produced car powered solely by electricity.

The BMW i8 is a hybrid car, and is inspired by the results of BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept study, trying to create a high-performance machine with the emissions of a smaller vehicle. The company says the low weight of the platform will balance out the heavy Li-ion batteries.

BMW i

It's all go in the world of electric cars and BMW faces stiff competition. Nissan will debut its Leaf range in December, and Renault is set for a launch of Zoe models in 2012. An electric Volkswagen Golf is expected too and Toyota hybrid models as well as the Chevrolet Volt are already on the market.

The i Series is backed by an investment of $540m (£334m) investment and the cars will be built at the BMW plant in Leipzig, Germany, creating 800 jobs. ®

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