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PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT: Ulrich Kranz, Senior vice president for product line i, BMW Group
In 2007, BMW engineer Kranz, now 55, was put in charge of the small team that had a mandate from CEO Norbert Reithofer to develop an environmentally responsible car for urban areas.
The team developed the tall but squat battery electric i3 compact that went on sale in Germany this month and arrives in the United States next spring. The i3 has a carbon-fiber passenger cell and parts made of recycled materials. It is built in plants that use alternative energy sources.
The second model developed by Kranz's team is the i8 hybrid sports car, which arrives next year. BMW promises those two vehicles will be part of a family of cars.