BMW cancels their plans for an i5 electric car

BMW i | May 23rd, 2017 by 42
BMW i5 rendering 750x500

Over the last two years, one topic has often come up on BMWBLOG and other media outlet – a new addition to the BMW i …

Over the last two years, one topic has often come up on BMWBLOG and other media outlet – a new addition to the BMW i family. Often referred to as the i5 or i6, the third i model was thought out to be a Tesla competitor which would not only offer a more attractive design than the i3, but also significant more space and versatility.

Back in April, we wrote that the rumored i5, instead of having a design built upon the i3 and/or i8, will look closer to “regular” BMW models and will arrive before 2020.

BMW i5 rendering 750x423

But, according to several sources, BMW has scrapped their i5 plans and will focus on electrification of other series models – like the X3 and 4 Series GT – and on the high-tech iNEXT model. This move will leave the i sub-brand with two models, i3 and i8 this year before the i8 Spyder is being added to the lineup.

A few years back, BMW launched the i Division, with its first vehicles being the BMW i3 and i8.Those cars were supposed to set the standard for what BMW’s electric vehicles will be. However, their chassis are just far too singular in use to warrant mass-production use. So to provide multiple electric and hybrid vehicles to the masses, BMW plans to work on a flexible architecture that can accommodate both electric, hybrid and traditional variants of each car.

Right now, BMW is just beginning its second phase of its plans for the future, basically prepping for its next phase, the iNEXT phase.

“The all-electric MINI and the all-electric BMW X3 will mark the beginning of the second wave of electrification for the BMW Group, benefitting from the ongoing technological progress we are making in this area,” BMW CEO Krüger said earlier this week. “Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT sets out our strategic course for further electrification and the direction of project i over the coming decade. We will incorporate all-electric, battery-powered mobility into our core brands, as we have already done successfully with our plug-in hybrid vehicles. By using highly flexible architectures we can avoid duplicate investments in plant and equipment and will be able to adapt our range of electric and conventional vehicles to changing demand both quickly and efficiently.”

While the i3 electric car is considered a successful model by the Bavarians, many customers have been craving for a real Tesla competitor to take on not only the high-end Model S and X cars, but also the upcoming, mainstream, Model 3.

The BMW narrative in the last few months has been focusing around the iNEXT model which will supposedly be a groundbreaking vehicle and it’s planned for production in 2021.

42 responses to “BMW cancels their plans for an i5 electric car”

  1. Giom says:

    It’s funny. This was the car I thought would turn around the i brands fortunes. A car people actually wants – provided it’s good looking.

    • M98987 says:

      That’s why they killed it.
      Yes, it could have been a properly sized, dual motor electric, that could have given Tesla some competition.

  2. PureLogic says:

    BMW is clearly floundering when it comes to electric cars. Tesla is going to have them for lunch

    • Max says:

      HAHAHA that from someone who is calling himself “purelogic”. Tesla is nowhere at the moment. In the next years they will lose a lot of traction when all real premium OEMs are coming out with their models…And they dont earn money at all, great business…NOT!

      • Hauerg says:

        Keep dreaming about the real premium OEMS for a few more years.

      • Model S consistently outsells its OEM competition:
        https://electrek.co/2016/10/12/tesla-model-s-dominating-us-luxury-sedan-market-beating-mercedes-bmw-audi/

        While those OEMs can’t seem to figure out how to sell a 200-mile BEV instead touting vaporware, and now we see BMW’s latest setback. Meanwhile Tesla has 25% gross margins, plowing what would be profits into growth, e.g., the Model 3 & Gigafactory ramp up.

      • M98987 says:

        Max, turn down the hysteria a bit, and check out Tesla’s Asset growth. Plant and Equipment have gone from 1 Billion to 16 Billion US dollars in 4 years. Gigafactories. and plant upgrades in Fremont. That’s where their profits have gone into exponential growth.

        • Terry Cowan says:

          When is exponential production?

          • cros13 says:

            Starting this friday with the planned Model 3 ramp from 30 units this month to 20,000 in December.

            I’m replacing my i3 in the new year and while I’d consider a BMW option… it’s looking like BMW won’t have anything for me so I’ll have to go for a Tesla or Jaguar. I don’t want a half-assed combustion conversion like a 3-series or X3….

            Don’t be fooled by FUD about Tesla “not being profitable”… their average margin is higher than both Porsche and BMW.

  3. Alexander S says:

    BMW already have the future competitor for Tesla 3. And it’s 3 series!

    • hinu7ycfgr5e says:

      It’s not electric. So no.

      • Alexander S says:

        I wrote down “future”. F30 now already has a hybrid. It’s clear that they plan to make fully electric models based on regular 3 and 5er. That will be most reasonable.

        • Hauerg says:

          If you followed what happened and did not happen at BMW re electric, only 1 thing is clear: nothing is clear.
          They MIGHT have SOMETHING 4+ years from now.

        • hinu7ycfgr5e says:

          We don’t know. That’s what’s up.

          An electric 3 Series would be great, or an M3. That would be super great. The upcoming 8 Series should definitely be electric, but probably isn’t. Why aren’t they converting expensive luxury cars to electric? Those are the cars that they can easily do it with!

  4. CDspeed says:

    I don’t think they necessarily need to build an electric car that is more like a “regular” BMW to simply compete with Tesla. I think they need to, to better represent themselves in the field of electric cars. My i3 in design, and amenities feels even cheaper then a VW Golf. And lacks luxury features, and options that you expect to get from a BMW. Yes the i3 is also an exorcise in weight savings, but the i3 really doesn’t bring real BMW-ness to electric cars. So they probably cancelled the i5 in favor of building an electric car that better represents what they do best. Give us a 3-Series (for example) that just happens to also be electric, rather then some polarizing science experiment of a car.

    • hinu7ycfgr5e says:

      The BMW i3 is one hell of a car. In the way it’s built, all the new ideas etc. I wouldn’t want it any other way. What you are proposing is a B-class electric. They went that road. Very traditional. Wy would I want that over what they did with the i3?

      I’d be happy to have a long range i5 with the same receipe. You’d basically get more of everything (as it would be a more expensive car).

      • CDspeed says:

        B-Class electric no, I’m just saying they need to build a luxury electric car that gives you what you expect from BMW. I like the i3 as is too but it lacks the features, and full feeling of a new BMW. The steering, RWD, and iDrive system are the only indications besides the badge that it’s a BMW.

        • hinu7ycfgr5e says:

          Because B-Class electric is more of a traditional car. If the i3 would be like it is, it would be more similar to the B-Class.

          Yeah, I agree. This is (imo) party due to cost and the fact that they don’t want to put this car side-by-side with e.g. the 3 Series. They also wanted to cut weight, so electric seats, for instance, is not included. Which is perfectly fine. Only thing I miss is memory feature. I hate adjusting the seat with electric controls, so dreadfully slow!

  5. Rico Gusman says:

    …meanwhile over at Renault…

  6. TheBelltower says:

    BMW sure is taking their sweet time with the EV development. They built an amazing factory, developed two amazing vehicles, then went about everything else very half-heartedly.

    • hinu7ycfgr5e says:

      It’s sad to think about what could’ve been. They deserve a lot of creds for what they did in the i project, they went all in, did it the proper way. Then that’s that.

      I wonder what they’ll do with the next generation i3, hopefully they’ll surprise us. But hoping for that would probably set you up for disappointment.

  7. hinu7ycfgr5e says:

    Jesus christ, BMW… Get on it… Stop fidgeting… This is getting real frustrating…

  8. Adam Bernard says:

    Er… isn’t it entirely possible the “iNEXT” will be badged i5? Given that BMW hasn’t mentioned the i5 in ages but has continued to talk iNEXT–and seems to have hinted that iNEXT is the project name, not the badge. This seems to be a non-story…

    • Horatiu B. says:

      Different cars. Won’t be called i5

      • Adam Bernard says:

        Well, that being the case, I would have called time-of-death on i5 in March of 2016, when BMW laid out some pretty detailed plans about iNEXT and i8 Spyder (and followed that statement up with additional info), and didn’t even hint at any other i-branded vehicles beyond that.

  9. ThreeOlives says:

    Please just put electric drive trains in your regular cars. If you’d stop cramming them in things that look like Honda Fits and start putting them in cars that look like things people want, like the 3/5 series (or Accord/Civic, Camry/Corolla, Altima/Sentra, etc), they’d be a hell of a lot more successful. These are the cars people are already buying so it would be a much easier change to make. Tesla seems to be the only one who understands this.

    • Terry Cowan says:

      Tesla?! Who don’t even have a volume model as yet?!

      • ThreeOlives says:

        *Sigh* Half-truths. My favorite thing! Always the sign of a good argument and someone who is thinking logically. Tesla has a volume model and it’s scheduled to launch next month according to Musk two days ago.

        The fact that this is the comment you made in response to what I said, especially with the punctuation you chose, makes it obvious you have some kind of personal issue Tesla. Instead of hating a company that’s actually trying to push for change in a market that’s happy to maintain the status quo, especially one as difficult (nigh impossible) to break into as the automotive market, you should be routing for anyone who tries. And I’m not just talking about Tesla. More competition is good for everyone. I’m going to support a company that is making products I’m actually interested in. If I could get a BMW 3 series or Mercedes C series, or even a Honda Accord or Mazda 6 with an electric drive train, decent range, and a reasonable price vs ICE I’d already have one. Unfortunately the only way I’m going to get a decent looking electric car appears to be with Tesla.

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