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Published on May 26th, 2017 | by James Ayre

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Has BMW Killed The i5 EV Project? Rumors Abound

May 26th, 2017 by  

Rumors are now going around that BMW has killed off the i5 electric vehicle project. These rumors seem to have originated with “unnamed sources” at BMW, according to BMWBLOG, so who knows if they are actually true or not at this point?

Considering BMW’s action to date regarding electric vehicles, however, and the fact that it is reportedly making changes in an attempt to increase the speed of electric vehicle development, there may be some truth to them.

Perhaps BMW is now getting serious about offering fully electric vehicles that compete with gas cars in their price range … rather than the EVs like the i3 that seem intentionally designed to sell poorly (note the price tag for what is classified as a subcompact car, not to mention the way it was marketed in orange for years and styled in a not super popular way). There was also the rich man’s toy, the i8 plug-in hybrid, which has sold well enough for its class but is in a super niche price range.

Perhaps BMW is now looking to build electric vehicles that the general consumer actually wants, rather than ones aimed at a niche market of consumers looking for “green” cars.

Survey results from our new EV report. Responses came from over 2,000 EV drivers across 26 European countries, 49 of 50 US states, and 9 Canadian provinces. Responses were segmented according to region — North America vs Europe — and type of electric car — plug-in hybrid vs Tesla vs non-Tesla fully electric car.

As a reminder here, the BMW i5 development program was assumed to be working towards the creation of a SUV/CUV, “mid-size,” or perhaps “compact” car (which covers most reasonable options) — but nothing solid was every really released to confirm this (a couple of renders is all that we got). That said, longtime BMW electric car driver Tom Moloughney certainly had some good suggestions. See: “How BMW Should Respond To The Tesla Model 3 (& Model S & X).”

Autoblog provides more: “Now that we’ve hedged, some of the rationale behind the move makes sense. The i3 and i8 are essentially single-vehicle platforms that can’t be used for anything outside of an EV or PHEV. The sources say that BMW is looking for a single platform that can be flexible, producing EVs, hybrids, and traditional gasoline and diesel-powered cars.”

That’s the route taken by the quite popular and acclaimed Hyundai IONIQ, which is coming as a fully electric, plug-in hybrid, and conventional hybrid.

“With the wild success of the Model S and upcoming Model 3, some people are wondering when BMW will debut its own ‘Tesla fighter.’ Having full-electric versions of the 3, 5, and 7 Series would fit the bill.”

Perhaps — though, at this point, Tesla has generated the buzz that it has not simply because its cars are “electric” but because it seems to be pulling the industry in a direction that the industry seemingly doesn’t want to go in. BMW may now have no means of gaining back lost market share, or of preventing the 3 Series from losing its place in the market with the launch of the Tesla Model 3.

Survey results from our new EV report. Responses came from over 2,000 EV drivers across 26 European countries, 49 of 50 US states, and 9 Canadian provinces. Responses were segmented according to region — North America vs Europe — and type of electric car — plug-in hybrid vs Tesla vs non-Tesla fully electric car.

It should perhaps be noted that media professionals have been writing headlines about “Tesla fighters” for years. Hmm … where are these Tesla fighters?

For more on that, see:

List of “Tesla Fighters”

BMW Vs. Tesla: Who’s Desperate Now?





Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

'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. You can follow his work on Google+.



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