Two days ago, some mysterious BMW design patents surfaced on the interwebs in China. According to PCauto.com.cn, these are official patent designs from a BMW filing with the Chinese trademark office. The assumption was that this is a future “i” vehicle, maybe even the i5, but it turns out that’s far from the truth.
A source in Munich says this is simply a research vehicle which will never see the production line. The car features the hydrogen fuel cell technology previewed earlier this year in Miramas.
“BMW engineers patented a few things,” our source said. “So of course there is some design support, but a production model would not leave the design department like this.”
The car featured in the renderings used a combination of BMW i8 and i3 design cues. It also has a three-door layout, judging by the two door caps on the side of the car.
The next BMW i car is rumored to arrive around 2020, but it’s unclear whether it would employ the hybrid fuel cell drivetrain or a fully electric platform.