BMW has released the first sketches of its forthcoming electric vehicle and, following in the footsteps of fellow German brand Audi, it's dubbed it a "Mega City Vehicle" (MCV).

The sketch give an idea of the design direction the firm is intending to take with its new compact electric vehicle, showing a futuristic appearance and a body constructed with plastic and carbon-fibre.

BMW is calling the MCV a "premium sustainability vehicle", meaning it's unlikely to be cheap and could be positioned above the MINI-E, currently being trialled by BMW in several global locations.

Reports suggest that the vehicle will be heavily based on the electric powertrain inside the MINI-E, with range extended and possibly diesel versions also available.

BMW fans will have to wait some time to get their hands on the MCV electric vehicle though, as its release is not scheduled until 2013.

Audi recently adopted the Mega City Vehicle moniker for its A1 e-tron electric vehicle, which was shown as a concept vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The A1 e-tron, which would also likely be priced in the premium segment, has an all-EV range of 31 miles (50 kilometers) and a range extending engine which adds a further 124 miles (200 kilometers).

With two doors and a weight of only 1,190 kilograms, Audi describes the A1 e-tron as "designed specifically for use in the metropolitan areas of Europe and North America and in the rapidly growing megacities of Asia and South America".

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