Which Model Will Join The BMW i Family? Is It An X5 Variant?
BMW has announced that the third member of the low-emission i family is coming post 2020.
BMW Group r&d chief Klaus Froehlich told Automotive News, “We are still in the strategic research phase where we brainstorm. Teams that start with a white sheet of paper. They talk with customers, hold workshops, then present their ideas and we decide.”
There were rumors claiming that the third BMW i family model after the i3 and i8 would be a variant of the X5 premium large SUV.
BMW Group r&d chief Klaus Froehlich also said, “The i subbrand is supposed to be a starting point for cutting-edge innovation that progressively moves down into the rest of the automaker’s lineup.”
Current examples include carbon fiber, which is a key part of the i3 and i8 and is moving into other BMWs, and the i8’s plug-in hybrid powertrain, which is being added to high-volume models such as X5, 3 series and 4 series.
As BMW continues to focus on making the i3 and i8 better during the next six-plus years, and they will try to improve the batteries.
Frohlich said, “We have a minimum 20 percent battery density improvement every three years, thus over the i3 and i8’s life cycle, we will offer more performance, more range or a combination of the two.”
When asked whether or not current i3 and i8 owners could upgrade to the more powerful electrical powertrains, Froehlich said, “I don’t think a retrofit makes sense. When better batteries are available, we could then offer models with a longer range or with the same range but at a lower price.”
Since the batteries are integrated and bonded to the chassis, updating the batteries is very complex.
BMW sold 16,052 i3s and 1,741 i8s in 2014.