On day two of the conference, Uwe Dreher, BMWi head of Global Marketing took the stage to give details of the BMWi, BMW's newest advancement in electric vehicles. The i line includes the i8, a performance sports car, and the i3, a mini "mega-city” vehicle. Dreher's keynote emphasized a few striking progressions in the auto giant's new models:
- It sets the stage for responsibility – inside and out: Beyond the fact that it's electric, BMW transformed the materials used both internally and externally. The i line is constructed of aluminum and high-tech carbon fiber for an ultra-light exterior while infusing renewable raw materials on the interior, such as naturally-tanned leather. Dreher highlighted the extensive research and development behind these improvements, making sure they lived up to BMW standards in categories like look and feel as well as durability and length-of-life.
- It simplifies sustainable action for the user: As the first fully-networked electric vehicle, BMWi actually gives two route options, the fastest and the most eco-friendly, giving drivers the choice to increase efficiency even further based on the number of hills, traffic issues and more.
- You don't have to buy it to experience it: In addition to advances made within the car, BMW has also launched DriveNow, an electric car-sharing program currently available in San Francisco. The program features ParkNow, a program which locates and secures parking spaces in advance – reducing the time it takes to look for a parking space, minimizing road congestion as well as emissions.
- It's no sacrifice: Most importantly, Dreher stressed that while the BMWi may be electric, it's still a BMW. Which means it's built with user experience and driving satisfaction in mind. In the words of one test driver, "Once you've driven a car like this, you'll never want to go back to a typical gas car."
The BMWi is more than an innovation in the automotive market; it is also a signal to consumers worldwide that sustainability doesn't have to be a sacrifice. With a third of consumers believing environmental products are lower in quality and another 16 percent stating these products are unattractive – the BMWi is poised to change quite a few minds about what it means to be sustainable. Forbes deemed the car "sexy efficiency” in an article earlier this year, and based on the crowd reaction at Sustainable Brands this week, it's safe to say that's accurate.