The fate of the BMW i8 has been decided earlier this year – the beautiful hybrid sportscar will get a successor. Various reports claim that BMW will give a hybrid platform to the upcoming model, but there is another report today saying that BMW might make the i8 an electric car.
According to Autocar, nothing has been set in stone just yet, despite our sources hinting at a PHEV platform. Senior officials are still debating what the correct path will be and it looks like the balance tips in favor of an EV. The BMW i8 is reportedly supposed to go out of production in 2023 and, by then, a successor is to be ready. The upcoming i car would become a proper embodiment of what BMW learns in Formula E by then and it would probably use the best EV tech the Germans can come up.
That includes the new-generation batteries that are now in development, with higher energy densities and faster charging times, as well as new-age electric motors. This last bit is essential and it is currently developed in Formula E, as cars in this competition have to be incredibly efficient while also delivering high-torque figures to the ground. The new electric motor to be used in the i8 successor is supposed to have “significantly higher rotational speeds” than what we have on the market today.
According to Autocar, this new motor has already been tested inside BMW i8 mules with good results. Another hurdle to jump will be the chassis it is built on, as the carbon fiber one for the i8 is not exactly right for a pure EV model. An alternative would be to base the successor of the hybrid on the same platform used by the iX3 or the iNext but that’s going to be a bit tricky to adapt. Thus, the hybrid alternative become a more viable choice as it could use the same platform as today.
BMW’s head of development even hinted at such a possibility not long ago, saying a more powerful hybrid version using a 2.0 liter or 3.0 liter internal combustion engine would make more sense to him: “Then it will be very soon in the 600bhp-or-something region and it will not have a weight of two tonnes.” The decision is still to be made and we’re certainly curious to see what the high-ranking officials in Munich will settle on.