BMW’s i3 battery-electric sedan and i8 plug-in hybrid sports car have served as a pathway for the German car company’s plan that all future i brand vehicles will become all-electric models.
Company engineers are working on the next electric car sedan with a pure electric drivetrain, called Project i20.
Also known internally as iNext, the new car will be named either i5 or i6 when it arrives in late 2021 according to Automobile magazine.
The iNext will offer a choice of electric motors ranging from 136 horsepower to 247 horsepower, four-wheel drive, an exceptionally low center of gravity and feature the most advanced autonomous capability that BMW has developed.
The automaker won’t use their all-carbon fiber construction as they did with the i3 and i8 because of its high cost.
Instead, the iNext will incorporate a hybrid aluminum and steel structure used in current BMW sedans, with recycled carbon fiber used elsewhere.
A report from Car & Driver said the iNext “will be a stand-alone model with a unique design, but it won’t be as far removed from BMW’s other models as are the i3 and the i8.”
What is also known is the iNext will not have a plug-in hybrid electric version. “By the time it launches, range won’t be a problem,” a source told the magazine.
Following the iNext will be replacements for the i3 and i8, which are both scheduled for production in 2022.
The i3 will jettison the range extender gasoline engine and it will become a battery electric car only with the possibility it will retain its carbon fiber structure or feature a blend of materials.
The i8 will also discard its gas engine, which will be replaced by three high-revving electric motors producing 750 horsepower.
It also receives a larger battery pack capable of delivering a 300-mile driving range, a range presumably based on the overly generous European Driving Cycle (NEDC)
Additionally, the i8 will offer four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, torque vectoring, and an active suspension system that scans the road ahead.
The driving force behind BMW’s move to i brand battery-electric cars is stringent European Union regulations that greatly reduce the average carbon emissions permitted from road vehicles.
More stringent than either the U.S. or Chinese standards, the current EU limits extend only to 2021. Further limits through 2025 are expected to be reduced even more.