The BMW i3 electric vehicle will be getting its range boosted in 2016, according to German company’s CEO, Harald Krüger. By how much, isn’t yet clear, but presumably to a notable degree considering the growing competition in the sector.
Interestingly, Krüger also noted (in the recent interview that the comment about the i3 came from) that the next i Series model would be following afterwards. That would be the third model yet released in the i Series — following the all-electric (EV) i3 and the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) i8.
Green Car Reports provides more:
The third “i” model will arrive “soon,” the BMW CEO said in an interview with German weekly Zeit (via Handelsblatt). He did say that the new “i” model will be larger than the i3, which seems to be a tacit confirmation of previous reports that BMW was planning a larger electric car to be called the i5.
As far back as 2012 — before the launch of the production i3 and i8 — there were reports that BMW was considering an electric “four-door coupe,” or possibly even an MPV. Earlier this year, it was reported that the i5 could in fact be a plug-in hybrid, using the Power eDrive powertrain previously demonstrated in a 5 Series GT test mule. This powertrain essentially flips the concept of a plug-in hybrid on its head, using electric motors as the main source of power, supplemented by an internal-combustion engine.
But since this vehicle will reportedly use the structure of the long-wheelbase 5 Series sold in China, it may not in fact be the next “i” model. It would not use the carbon fiber-reinforced plastic body shell and aluminum chassis of the i3 and i8. BMW R&D chief previously said that the next “i” model will not be based on an existing vehicle.
Such a release will need to possess a better range than the current i3 if it’s intended to compete with the many third-generation EVs coming to market (Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, 3rd Gen Nissan LeAF, etc) that are set to be released in the near future, in my humble opinion. BMW’s current electric sales are fairly good, and growing, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens following the release of those third-generation EVs. Can the German company hold onto its market share?