BMW: i5 EV Coming, Will Offer Optional Range-Extender

BMW i | March 8th, 2016 by 26
BMW i5 rendering new 750x500

BMW i’s head of product Henrik Wenders has shed some light on what the highly rumored BMW i5 might look like. Without revealing many details, …

BMW i’s head of product Henrik Wenders has shed some light on what the highly rumored BMW i5 might look like.

Without revealing many details, Wenders says the future i model will be offered with a range extender option. “The range-extender plays an important part in the next years when range remains a limiting factor and a source of anxiety,” Wenders told Car and Driver. “Of course, once we get to a range that is more comparable with that of an internal-combustion engine it will become obsolete. So this is the reason I can say we will continue to offer the range-extender in the future as optional equipment, to address different customer needs.”

BMW i5 rendering new 750x535


Wenders also spoke on the range extender usage in the i3, BMW’s first electric vehicle. “At the beginning of the i3, the [take rate of the] range-extender was much more than we expected,” Wenders said. “More than 60 percent. It’s decreasing dramatically now and what we’re seeing is that people are almost never using it and that it was purely a psychological thing; it is being regularly used in fewer than five percent of i3s.”

While the i3 is yet to become the primary car in a household, the i5 is likely to be the first option for single-car garages. “We are thinking of a new i model above it to attract families, and that means it must be capable of being the first car in the household. We are still working very hard on the usage concept, but this needs to be defined by the market and not by us.”

Wenders also confirmed that a carbon-fiber structure i5 is the obvious choice. “One of i’s roles is as an enabling brand, to help industrialize new materials and processes. We have already opened the door with the i3, and we will take it from there.”

The underpinnings of the BMW i5 are known internally as FSAR, short for flat battery storage assembly, similar to the modular CLAR platform underpinning several new BMWs allowing multiple cars to be channeled through the same factory.

Whether the new i model will be called i5 or i6, it’s still unclear, same goes for the bodystyle. While some rumors point to a sedan style, more recent ones hint at a crossover. Regardless of the name and design, the new i model will likely not arrive before 2020.


26 responses to “BMW: i5 EV Coming, Will Offer Optional Range-Extender”

  1. John says:

    I will be leasing something else by the time this car goes on sale. BMW is way way too slow at this.

  2. CDspeed says:

    So little Tesla can build long range sport sedans, and SUVs now, but BMW can’t get past range extenders (hybrids) four years from now. Even Chevrolet is coming out with an electric car that can blow the i3 away, but BMW is ok staying stuck in neutral? Don’t they realize that the i3 REx only sells well because of its higher range, it’s not that i3 customers wanted a plug-in hybrid, they just needed the miles. Look at contributor and blog writer Tom Moloughney, needing a bit more range after driving the Mini-E and ActiveE he had no choice but to buy the REx because the i3 BEV didn’t offer more then the ActiveE. I’m saddened and pissed off that my favorite brand is choosing not to be a leader in electrification. Sorry BMW I’m not waiting four years to buy a bigger i3……

    • Reino-five-five-oh says:

      Your favorite brand is not choosing to be a leader in electrification? In sorry, what are Mercedes and Audi doing, exactly?

      • CDspeed says:

        Mercedes, not much, thought they did just order their upper management, and executives to drive Mercedes plug-in cars in a “lead by example” move. Audi has at least shown a concept, and has stated it’ll be in production by 2018. And though there hasn’t been much news of it, supposedly the new R8 can be ordered as a fully electric e-tron model. Am I not allowed to express some disappointment?

      • John says:

        Doesn’t matter what other companies are doing.

    • cros13 says:

      +1 if the i3 had 50% more range there is no way I would have ordered the REx.
      As it stands it was not a good choice for me. It bumped the car up a tax band and lost me some of the grant aid. Over $10k out of pocket for the option.

      I’ve only used it for about 200km vs over 50,000km on the battery.

      • Guillaume Perret says:

        so, to summarize, you paid 10k$ in order to drive 200km ?

      • CDspeed says:

        One thing I thought was strange is BMW kept shrinking the battery size from the Mini-e to the ActiveE, and it got smaller again from the ActiveE to the i3. They took away electric range, and then stuffed the heavy REx engine in next to the electric motor.

    • EQ says:

      4 yrs. from now, let’s see whether Tesla or the R8 e-tron exist & if so, what trade in they’ll give me for an i8?

    • johnbl says:

      It’s obvious to me that this resistance is driven by its dealership model..the more electrification the less service requirements..the service network is the money BMW is caught between a rock and a hard place..Tesla is free of these constraints..they just keep driving forward..

      I took my 2014 BEV i3 in for a software upgrade and the BMW service department informed me I needed a wheel alignment..and were ready to charge me $ local garage would have done it for $75 but they said it wasn’t necessary.

      Change is difficult but it sure as hell is coming..we’ll see who the players are in these coming 5 years.

  3. EQ says:

    This is a funny page. Elsewhere the complaint is they are no longer the Ultimate Driving Machine (which was an advertising slogan, by the way, not a contractual obligation). Here they complain about batteries & range. Happy Birthday, BMW, & good luck with the next century!

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