In 2017, BMW will launch their third electric-vehicle nurtured by the BMW i sub-brand. The long-time rumored BMW i5 is already way into development as somewhat confirmed in a previous article by Jacob Harb, the Head of EV Operations in US.
“You can probably take an educated guess at the next thought process, something a little bigger, maybe a little more range, relative to the i3. We’ve got everything trademarked and we’re exploring the best, next iteration. It is coming. It’s in development now.”
The new midsize BMW i5 will cater to a slightly different demographic than the i3. It will be an eco-friendly electric family vehicle with plenty of space for five passengers, equipped with regular front-hinged rear doors to facilitate easy ingress and egress for the rear passengers.
BMW engineers think that by adding just 100mm of extra legroom and another 150mm of rear overhang, they can create a spacious family EV hardly longer than a MINI Countryman.
Creating the i5 is potentially a much cheaper and simpler operation than stretching a conventional steel monocoque car, as the i3 uses a separate chassis. Lengthening it is mostly a matter of extending the chassis’s longitudinal aluminum extrusions. Also extending the pillarless passenger cell is mainly a case of stretching the roof and floor sections. Only the rear door structure would have to be completely re-engineered, although the hinge and clamp systems would be unchanged.
The battery technology will also be improved, a larger lithium-ion battery pack than in the i3 which could lead to a driving range close to 200 miles.
Car and Driver says that the BMW i5 will be sold in the most important global markets, at a price competitive with the entry-level versions of the Tesla Model S, which the i5 will aim to trump in telematics and assistance systems, as well as general fit and finish.
Power will come from BMW’s permanent-magnet AC synchronous electric motor, likely to be rated at 170 horsepower, which will power the rear axle through a single-speed transmission.
Just like the i3, an REx (Range Extender) model will be offered as well.
The BMW i5 could be launched in 2016 as a 2017 model. It will cost around $50,000.
[Source: Car and Driver]