While “unnamed sources” probably aren’t a great source of information, they can often give a clear and accurate idea of where things are going before there have been any official announcements. In the auto industry, probably more than in many others, there’s often quite a bit of truth to the things revealed by unnamed sources within established firms.
With that in mind, the German magazine Welt am Sonntag has reported that sources within BMW have revealed plans to launch a revamped version of the all-electric i3 — one with a reworked front-end and rear design, as well as an improved range (battery pack size). The launch is supposedly set for 2017.
This would make a lot of sense considering that the Tesla Model 3 is launching later next year, and will be cheaper plus have substantially more to it performance-wise than the BMW i3.
Notably, in addition to its range limitations and price, the design of the i3 has been the main point of contention for many — with the front-end design in particular attracting a lot of criticism. With a redesign that makes it more physically attractive, and with an improved range, the model can probably sell quite a bit better than it does now.
Reuters provides more: “BMW will rework the front and rear of the i3 and equip the car with a new battery to increase its range substantially beyond the current 300 km maximum, the paper said, adding that the increase would be below 50%.”
If the rumors are true, then it seems that the company may well have taken some common criticisms into consideration and made changes.
Regardless of intent, though, with regard to sales, much will depend simply on pricing — if a redesigned BMW i3 is truly intended to compete with the Tesla Model 3, then the price will need to be slashed quite a bit, even if there are major improvements.
Editor’s Note: While the BMW i3 gets criticized quite a bit in the US and sales haven’t been spectacular, it’s worth highlighting that the i3 was the top-selling electric car in Europe in October and is #4 on the continent for the year through October, just ahead of the Tesla Model S and only behind the Renault Zoe (#1), Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (#2), and Nissan LEAF (#3). Additionally, BMW leads all other brands in Europe for electric car sales so far in 2016, with 16% of the market.
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