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Three BMW Group concept cars - the BMW i8 Concept, BMW i3 Concept and Mini Rocketman Concept - have won the 2012 Green Good Design Award for sustainable product design.
The annual jury award is an offshoot of the Good Design Award, which was founded in Chicago in 1950 by architects Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, and Edgar Kaufmann Jr. It was launched in 2009 to increase awareness and appreciation of sustainability in contemporary design. BMW Group Cars have won the Good Design Award a number of times, but this is the first time the company has seen one of its products win the Green component.
The prize is awarded by the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design. More than 120 products, people, governments, and environmental and architecture projects from 27 nations were presented with the award this year.
BMW calls its i8 Concept the "most progressive and innovative sports car of its time", and highlights among its many attributes its carefully-designed 50/50 weight distribution.
The i8 Concept is a plug-in hybrid that combines an electric system fitted over its front axle with a three-cylinder combustion engine producing 164 kW/220 hp and 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) at the rear. The two are connected by an "energy tunnel", which houses the battery. Acceleration is rest to 62 in under five seconds, while fuel economy is a staggering 87 mpg.
BMW touts the i3's impressive turning circle and illustrates its attributes as a roomy electric compact, perfect for urban living.
The electric motor is over the rear axle and generates output of 125 kW/170 hp and torque of 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) from a standstill. The car accelerates from rest to 62 mph in less than eight seconds
Of this concept, BMW says, "Clever functionality, smile-inducing agility, exceptional efficiency and irresistible design come together in an immensely attractive and ground-breaking small car concept for the premium segment - and retain an authentic Mini identity in the process."
The Rocketman is smaller than the average mini, and has interiors done in carbon fiber-reinforced plastic that industry observers have found funkily innovative.