BMW Won’t Release Next i Series Model Plug-In Until After 2020

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The next model in BMW’s i series won’t be arriving before 2020, based on recent comments from the company’s head of R&D.

So while we got both the i3 and the i8 in relatively fast succession, and BMW has announced plans to electrify every model in its fleet, it looks like BMW will be taking its time in taking that line of inquiry (from-the-ground-up electric cars) any further. The company has reportedly only just begun the brainstorming process for the third model in the series.

BMW i8 cropped

As with the first two models, the third will also be designed independently from the company’s other offerings — in other words, it won’t be based on the company’s various standard models.

The aforementioned head of R&D, Klaus Froehlich, also made a number of other interesting comments. Gas2 provides more:

Froelich went on to say that the mission of the i sub-brand is to change the perception of how a low-emissions car should look and perform and therefore there are no plans to re-package an existing BMW Group model and call it an i model. That seems to quash any idea that the newly introduced BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid SUV is going to morph into the range filling i5 model.

In the meantime, BMW says it will work on improving its i3 and i8 cars. It will also transfer some of the knowledge it has gained from designing and building those two cars to the rest of its production vehicles. Vehicle weight is becoming increasingly important to car makers eager to increase fuel economy and reduce tailpipe emissions in order to meet ever tightening government regulations around the world. The company’s innovative use of carbon fiber technology in the i3 and i8 will most likely lead to more use of carbon fiber components across the entire BMW lineup of automobiles.

Interesting. Increased use of carbon fiber make sense for a number of reasons — it’s not exactly surprising to see the company pursuing that line of thought. It is certainly something for which Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute have been pushing for a long time.

These comments do make me wonder if BMW’s slow approach to the electric vehicle market will leave it in the dust, though. 2020 is quite a ways off….

Image Credit: Zachary Shahan | EV Obsession | CleanTechnica (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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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.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

5 thoughts on “BMW Won’t Release Next i Series Model Plug-In Until After 2020

  • Seems surprising. 4 model years away…maybe they’re thinking of an overhaul of the i3 to keep up with the inevitable range doubling coming with most of the next gen EVs which they feel will compete with the Model 3 / Bolt / Leaf / etc?
    Maybe they are focusing on integrating the i series learnings into their other models for uber efficient plug ins?
    Maybe the iSeries was just a concept to production series and their real plans are to create new “normal” BMWs that are all electric? Maybe they are waiting for battery tech to catch up with their vision of the EV and are actively working on that or searching for the right battery partner? It is the obvious major barrier/gap in current EVs
    Dunno…seems like they were all in and this just deflates that…

  • ..and now we know how serious they are about the brand. “Not very.”

  • BMW will loose market share when EV, Tesla, Nissan, BYD,
    gigafactories kick in. Is BMW the next Kodak?
    Is German gascar brands the new Kodak?
    Germay needs a Elon Musk to start Gigafactory and EV high quality brand in Germany.

    • Seems like VW got the news. Germany may not be a lost cause.

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