Jonathan Burn 2019-07-13 17:30
BMW’s i3 bespoke electric hatchback is unlikely to be replaced as the firm focuses on developing ‘mainstream’ EVs
The future of the BMW i3 is in doubt with senior BMW bosses revealing to Auto Express that the groundbreaking electric car may not get a direct successor.
The i3 launched back in 2013 and kickstarted BMW’s move into developing electric vehicles. However, BMW has shifted its electrification strategy to integrate future EVs into its mainstream range rather than developing bespoke models on unique architectures, like the i3.
“It is difficult to say if the i3 will have a straight successor as it [electrification] goes more into the mainstream like the upcoming iX3,” Pieter Nota, Member of Board of Management at BMW for sales told us. “The i3 had a pioneering role – it was at the very beginning of BMW’s electrification plans but what we are seeing now is that electrification is moving more into the mainstream.”
The carbon fibre chassis the BMW i3 and i8 models are based upon is almost certain to be phased out; BMW’s new CLAR architecture will allow the firm to be more flexible, enabling it to develop conventional petrol or diesel, plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicles all on the same platform. “We will continue to use carbon fibre but not exactly in the way that we see it in the i3 today,” Nota added.
By 2023 BMW has confirmed it will launch 25 new electrified vehicles, more than half of which will be fully electric. The electric BMW iX3, which launches next year, joins the X3 lineup making it BMW’s first model range to be offered with a complete selection of powertrain options.
Following in 2021 will be BMW’s Tesla Model S rival, the electric i4 saloon. It too will use the CLAR architecture and be offered with a range of battery sizes – the largest of which enabling a claimed range of 375 miles on a single charge.
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