At the recent Geneva Motor Show, AutoExpress UK interviewed Ian Roberton, BMW board member and sales and marketing director. Among many topics, Robertson shared more details on the upcoming BMW i sub-brand and its first vehicles, i3 and i8, then moved onto the rumored Z2 Roadster, hydrogen-powered BMWs and MINI Beachcomber.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview:
Will there be ‘i’ badged version of existing models like the 3-Series and 5-Series?
BMWi wasn’t conveived with that in mind, and with the i3 and i8 to develop, we’ve got enough on our plate already I’d say. But the i3 and i8 serve completely different purposes, they are bookends if you like, so there is definitely space for regular vehicles in between them.
What sort of models can we expect to emerge on your UKL1 front-wheel-drive platform? Will it underpin a Z2 roadster?
There will be a huge variety of products, ranging from small cars to more versatile models. I can’t reveal anything about the Z2, but what I will say is that the roadster segment is under a lot of pressure at the moment.
Are there any plans for a petrol only version of the i8?
No, this is a great opportunity to produce a ground-breaking performance car, and there’s no need to provide a petrol-only model. I’ve driven it a lot recently and it has all the performance you could need
What’s happened to BMW’s hydrogen plans, the focus seems entirely on electric cars now – even at Rolls-Royce?
Hydrogen works well, it’s just a shame that the logistics, like the on-board storage, are particulary difficult. It’s also hard to produce in viable quantities. The beautiful thing about electricity is that we’re all so familiar with it – it’s on every street corner in every developed country. We all understand it so it’s no surprise it’s gathering momentum.