When the BMW i3 and i8 first made their debuts, the world was quite stunned. The i3 especially shocked the world, as it offered the first electric car with a carbon-fiber tub for under $50,000. Sure, it didn’t have the furthest range in the world but it was a great little electric car that offered more than enough range for a great price. Since then, competitors have caught up, and even surpassed it, in many ways. Yet BMW seems to want to wait until 2021 to debut its next fully-electric BMW i Division car.
By that time, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and possibly even Tesla will all have developed their own 300 mile-plus electric car. So will it be too late for BMW by then? Maybe not.
BMW CEO Harald Kruger seems to feel that BMW will set the benchmark yet again in 2021. “Our strategy Number One Next is based on consistent lightweight construction, alternative drive, connectivity, autonomous driving and the interior of the future. The iNext will set the benchmarks of 2021. ”
While everyone else is rushing to develop electric cars, it seems as though the Bavarians are developing other technologies to go along with electric cars, such as autonomous capabilities, while battery technology catches up. This way, once battery tech is at a much better place, and 800-volt charging is more readily available, BMW will be able to launch an electric car with more impressive technology and capabilities than everyone else, because it spent all that time developing them.
And this technology that’s been developed for the future will be able to make its way into the rest of BMW’s lineup. “BMW i will continue to be a pioneer of innovation in the Group in the future. The next major topics are digitization and autonomous driving. iNext will demonstrate our leadership in these technologies. And, of course, we will also roll out these innovations into all architectures, products and brands, ” said Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management for Research and Development at BMW AG.
The next BMW i product could be the upcoming BMW i5 (or i6) and it’s likely to be an SUV of some kind. Or, it could be some sort of four-door coupe-like sedan with sharp and dynamic looks. Being an electric vehicle, thus lacking traditional automotive powertrain components, it would be able to be smaller and shorter than the standard 5 Series while also having more interior and cargo space. But whatever it ends up being, we won’t see it until 2021. Hopefully, for BMW’s sake, it isn’t too late by then.
[Source: Auto Motor und Sport]