A fully electric BMW i8 certainly sounds much more enticing than the current plug-in hybrid i8, which I enjoyed test driving, but wasn’t ecstatic about. Luckily, it sounds like a fully electric i8 is close to getting the green light.
Steve Hanley has some details:
Klaus Fröhlich, head of development at BMW, tells Autocar that the firm’s i division is working on a prototype that could lead the way to an all electric BMW i8 in the near future. At the heart of the prototype are three high revving but compact electric motors — two in the rear and one in front.
“Revs are the route to making electric motors smaller,” sources within the company say. “BMW has a great history of high-revving combustion engines. We’re looking to take this tradition into the electric car arena with electric motors that rev far higher than those seen in production today.” The proposal to build the prototype is said to be on Froehlich’s desk, awaiting approval.
Despite the improvement from pure electric drive, however, the i8 would still basically seat two people, and the car was not design to be fully electric, so there’s still the challenge of stuffing the batteries in somewhere. The current plan, apparently, is to use the carbon fiber body created for a hydrogen-fuel-cell version, and stick the batteries in a tunnel in the middle of that which was created for hydrogen storage tanks.
Hmm, anyone else thinking that a fully electric i8 still isn’t going to take a lot of customers back from Tesla?
If this all goes through, the NEDC range is expected to be ~400 kilometers (~249 miles), which may be more like 185 miles according to the EPA.
For the conventional car enthusiasts among you, here’s one more quote from Steve: “The production i8 has a total of 357 horsepower on tap. Autocar’s source says the new brushless motors may be capable of spinning out 268 horsepower — each!” >500 horses certainly sounds like a powerful machine. I have to wonder what the 0–100/0–60 time would be.
Note that a fully electric BMW i8 would presumably be a supplement to the plug-in hybrid i8, which BMW is said to be improving (via a larger battery, faster wireless charging, and a bit more power than the original).