BMW i5 or i7 Plug-In Hybrid Car Arriving In 2018?

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The long-rumored BMW i5/i7 is looking set to hit the market sometime in 2018 — and will be designed specifically to compete with Tesla’s Model S, according to recent reports.

While the model is expected to have an upper-market look to it, the all-electric range isn’t actually expected to approach that of the Model S — reportedly only possessing a zero-emissions range of up to 80 miles per charge.

This would of course not really put the i5/i7 on the same level as Tesla’s offerings, and that’s not even mentioning acceleration yet. Overall, it looks like this will be something that’s more like an upper-market Chevy Volt competitor, rather than a Tesla competitor.



GAS2 provides more:

According to the UK’s Car Magazine, the rumored BMW i5/i7 will continue in the tradition of the i3 and i8, but boasting two electric motors. The setup will be similar to the drivetrain of the i8, with no mechanical connection between the front and rear wheels, though in this case with an electric motor situated on each axle.

The front motor will be good for about 245 horsepower, and the rear motor about 95 ponies, with a 245 horsepower four-cylinder range extender bringing total output to about 545 horsepower. The gas engine will assist at speeds above 40 MPH, though the i5/i7 is being designed to operate primarily on battery power. The plug-in hybrid can operate using either the front or rear electric motors alone, together, or in conjunction with the range extender, which from the sounds of it will also help in the motivation.

So, essentially, it’s an impressive plug-in hybrid (PHEV), but not something that can really compete with Tesla in any way other than brand name I suppose. Makes you wonder if BMW is really planning to pull the trigger with regards to electric vehicles and develop a purely electric and high-performance vehicle.

It seems even Porsche is now getting into that game after all — with the upcoming Pajun electric sedan.

The next move for BMW on the PHEV front is reportedly to transform the 3-series sedans into PHEVs — ceasing to offer non-PHEV versions of the highly popular vehicles. An interesting move — but one aimed at a very different section of the auto market than Tesla is aimed at, when it comes down to it. Despite all of the friction between the two companies in recent times, they are clearly taking different paths for the time being. (If these rumors are true, of course.)

Image Credit: BMW

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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9 thoughts on “BMW i5 or i7 Plug-In Hybrid Car Arriving In 2018?

  • We are into “iPod killer” PR game again! Suffice to say: BMW better start seriously innovating soon, otherwise the only big announcement coming from BMW in 2018 will be their plummeting sales and massive layoffs.

  • Oh yes, Mercedes, Porsche, Lexus should get their priorities strengthened as well. A special message to Audi: you are already dead and irrelevant – you just don’t know it yet. (eTron = vaporware)

    • Totally agree, why do the German car producers dont see this.
      It is like still producing steam locomotives in the Electric high speed train market.

    • Tesla Model III = unwritten theory. Was not even upgraded to a vapourware yet.

  • Germans prefer German cars. They also don’t drive great distances, compared to Americans. It will sell well in Germany.

    This isn’t an either BMW “or” Tesla market. Some people will prefer BMW just because it is BMW, or because it is an established brand, or because it is German or whatever. It gives increased credibility to PHEVs and therefore increases the market overall – as in “Well, if BMW is doing it, then it must be okay and not some socialist-hippie-gluten-free-new-age nonsense.” Increasing market awareness and credibility increases the market which gives more sales opportunities for Teslas, Volts, Bolts, etc. none of whom this “rumored” BMW will be competing with on price or features.

    Being last to market is not a good way to get market share.

    And of course it doesn’t really compete with Tesla since it isn’t pure EV.

  • they will be just like the flawed i8 design where the battery and motors are really only there to give an underpowered ICE a temporary kick in the pants. They are coming late to market with a design based on years old hybrid tech, which wins them nothing.
    It shows they will make the same mistakes all over again like the i3 with its stupid 2gal tank.
    The rest of the world is heading to 200 mile EVs or decent Rex, while the germans are just now getting to 85mile EVs – they are getting left behind.

    • Guys, they are not after the early adopters or the eco-vanguard. They are after their existing base customers and these products will likely retain them at the same time they are marginally increasing their base. For their customer base convenience and status are more important than cost.

      Their lineup will include some ICEVs and BEVs for dogmatic customers but the bulk of their lineup will become PHEVs. This is PHEVs going mainstream. For the majority of drivers a PHEV that offers 40 miles of EV range is primarily an EV anyway.

  • For over a century, the legacy automobile manufacturers like BMW, VW, GM, Fiat, Toyota, perfected the Internal combustion engine (ICE), and all hold thousands of patents on various ICE technologies. They’ve all invested heavily over the years in huge factories that churn out these engines, then out of the blue comes Tesla, this tiny company that threatens to make all these factories and intellectual properties obsolete, does anyone actually believes they’re all going to roll over and let Tesla have it’s way? You bet they’re going to fight like hell; they will use everything at their disposal like powerful politicians, the automobile dealers association,the press (think Cramer etc.), investment banks etc. Even Tesla’s detractors all acknowledge that they make terrific cars, but they still preach Tesla’s downfall because they’re aware of all the obstacles they’re throwing in its path. Jim Cramer says Tesla makes great cars, but he fails to see how a great product translates to a successful company. In other words, he thinks customer experience doesn’t matter and that the future of a company depends on whatever declarations pseudo pundits like him make in the media. Wake up Cramer, times have changed!

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