The EV war continues.
BMW has revealed that its next electric vehicle (EV) under its ‘i’ sub-brand will come about in 2021, and will take the shape of a four-door saloon that’ll compete head-on with Tesla’s upcoming Model 3.
With details given to AutoExpress, BMW has said that the impending i5 will bear a design that resembles the Vision Next 100 Concept from last year. Though designed as a fully-electric car, the possibility of hydrogen propulsion has not yet been ruled out. BMW has been calling this car the iNext, and it will bear the very latest in autonomous technology, among others.
Ian Robertson, BMW’s board member for sales & marketing, said of the iNext: “Having recently had the final design review, you can assume that it’s a bigger car rather than a smaller one, and you can assume that the packaging for the next generation of batteries has to be accommodated in such a way that gives the car a certain proportion.”
BMW is confident that the marque’s design signatures will have people recognising this car instantly as a BMW, while retaining traits established by the i8 and i3. “One thing we’ll see is that – as with most BMWs – you’ll know it’s one of our cars without seeing the badge. Proportionally it has certain design icons – the grille, light treatment and so on,” Robertson shared.
When it debuts, the i5 is expected to come with level-three autonomous driving technology, where the car can basically fend for itself, with a driver still acting as a failsafe. BMW expects the i5 to eventually reach level-4 and level-5 autonomy, where passengers will be able to leave the car to its own devices almost entirely.
By 2021, BMW will likely have expanded its range of electrified vehicles. Including the i3 and i8, BMW currently offers the widest range of plug-in hybrids globally, and market takeup is strong with over 100,000 cars sold thus far. The marque expects those numbers to continue to grow, while proper success of its EVs will likely hinge on the i5 and its wide breadth of abilities.