BMW’s once-beloved i Division has fallen under pretty heavy scrutiny this past year. When BMW first launched the i Division, it was the first to bring such a sub-brand to the market. Therefore, it was highly regarded as innovative and forward thinking. But with no new products since the original launch of the BMW i3 and i8, the i Division seems to be running out of good will.
In BMW’s defense, it has just updated the i3’s battery and will be giving the i8 a bit of a boost as well. However, that might not be enough to compete with Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagen, all of which have boosted their EV lineup’s significantly. Admittedly, they’ve only boosted their “future” EV lineup and barely have an EV leg to stand on at the moment, while BMW actually does. But, it seems that those companies have ambitious visions of the future, while BMW’s plans seem muddy at the moment.
Currently, BMW is pushing a lot of plug-in hybrids. According to the Bavarians, they’re in the second phase in their push for alternative fuel. The first phase was implementing the i Division and creating new products and technologies. That’s done now and it’s time for the second phase, which is injecting those new technologies into the rest of BMW’s lineup. Hence the new BMW 740e, 330e, future 530e and eventually a plug-in hybrid variant of every model.
Apparently, BMW is also working on an i5, a third addition to the i Division’s stable of vehicles. We recently saw some patent designs of a possible BMW i5, which looked more Prius than BMW. Will that be enough to zap (pun intended) some new life into BMW’s i Division?