BMW Won’t Release Next i Series Model Plug-In Until After 2020

By James Ayre - Clean Technica

The next model in BMW’s i series won’t be arriving before 2020, based on recent comments from the company’s head of R&D.

So while we got both the i3 and the i8 in relatively fast succession, and BMW has announced plans to electrify every model in its fleet, it looks like BMW will be taking its time in taking that line of inquiry (from-the-ground-up electric cars) any further. The company has reportedly only just begun the brainstorming process for the third model in the series.

As with the first two models, the third will also be designed independently from the company’s other offerings — in other words, it won’t be based on the company’s various standard models.

The aforementioned head of R&D, Klaus Froehlich, also made a number of other interesting comments. Gas2 provides more:

Froelich went on to say that the mission of the i sub-brand is to change the perception of how a low-emissions car should look and perform and therefore there are no plans to re-package an existing BMW Group model and call it an i model. That seems to quash any idea that the newly introduced BMW X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid SUV is going to morph into the range filling i5 model.

In the meantime, BMW says it will work on improving its i3 and i8 cars. It will also transfer some of the knowledge it has gained from designing and building those two cars to the rest of its production vehicles. Vehicle weight is becoming increasingly important to car makers eager to increase fuel economy and reduce tailpipe emissions in order to meet ever tightening government regulations around the world. The company’s innovative use of carbon fiber technology in the i3 and i8 will most likely lead to more use of carbon fiber components across the entire BMW lineup of automobiles.

Interesting. Increased use of carbon fiber make sense for a number of reasons — it’s not exactly surprising to see the company pursuing that line of thought. It is certainly something for which Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute have been pushing for a long time.

These comments do make me wonder if BMW’s slow approach to the electric vehicle market will leave it in the dust, though. 2020 is quite a ways off….