Mercedes Benz, BMW in EV Talks With Magna-Steyr

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
mercedes benz bmw in ev talks with magna steyr

Canadian-Austrian venture Magna Steyr had a mini hit on its hands at the Geneva Auto show with its Mila Alpin. With no trucks on the market light enough for hybrid or EV conversions, the folks who developed Mercedes 4-Matic and built everything from the X3 to the G-Wagen wanted to give it a shot. Not only does the Mila Alpin climb 45 degree inclines, it's super light, designed to work with CNG, hybrid, or electric powertrains. More importantly, it's not aimed at fanboys. "Der Magna Mila Alpin ist so konstruiert," says Auto Motor Und Sport, "dass sich fremde Karosserieformen leicht auf der Plattform aufbauen lassen." It's built for others to build on. And just like that, Mercedes and BMW are talking joint project, in hopes of backing-up eco-friendly PR chatter on the (relative) cheap. BMW Development chief Klaus Draeger says talks with Magna Steyr are not about technical ability; they are about strategy and marketing. Mercedes confirms that they're schmoozing with Frank Stronach's boyz, but say their A and B Class cars were designed with "sandwich" floors to ease the adoption of alternative drivetrains. My gut says BMW will go for it. Their motorcycles prove they can go anywhere with their brand. A crazy Isetta electric off-roader would freaking rule.

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4 of 5 comments
  • Adonis Adonis on Mar 30, 2008

    BMW's bikes actually came before the cars. So, you could say: their automobiles prove they can go anywhere with their brand. On topic, that idea would be fantastic to see and something I would actually be interested in. Bloated, played out SUV's and trucks hold no interest for me.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Mar 31, 2008

    Adonis, While we are strolling down BMW history lane, how about they put out a new piston aircarft engine to remind everyone why they have a prop as a company symbol.

  • Adonis Adonis on Mar 31, 2008

    (Wikipedia, emphasis added)

    Beginning with aircraft engines, BMW AG produced a variety of products in its early years, eventually shifting to motorcycle production in 1923 and automobiles in 1929. The circular blue and white BMW logo, which has not been altered throughout the company's history, does not in fact symbolize a spinning propeller according to a BMW spokesman Joerg Huebner (although the imagery did appear in post-WWI advertisements)
  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Mar 31, 2008

    Adonis, BMW also NEVER took directives from the Third Reich or Nazi parties, never used any products of camp labor... Okay, it may not be a prop, but in this case, I wouldn't take wiki or the corporate spokesman as being solid evidence. The collective guilt of the German people should not be overestimated, and I fully understand the sentiment if not the effects. The reason they don't make aircraft engines supposedly goes back to a postwar promise. I think they ought to get over it. Thielert is making good bucks rebuilding mercedes diesels for light aircraft, but I would rather have a BMW in my plane.