Emblematic BMW i3 won’t have a successor
BMW sales boss, Pieter Nota, has declared to the Financial Times this weekend that there will be no successor for the emblematic and full electric i3. Instead, the electrification of the whole range is now the priority.
When it was launched in 2013, the BMW i3 was an iconic full electrical vehicle, way ahead of its competitors in many fields. But it was also fairly odd-looking and very expensive to produce because of its full-carbon structure.
Sales have increased every single year (this year already 24.870 units were sold in Belgium), and the i3 is one of the bestsellers in EV’s territory. Nevertheless, the German manufacturer has decided not to reiterate the exercise. The current i3 will be sold as long as demand exists.
Hybrid first, electric next
The new focus is on quick electrification of a large part of BMW’s portfolio. The launch of plug-in hybrids in all models has priority. The threat of significant EU fines from 2021 onward when CO2 emissions averages aren’t reached plays a major role in it.
BMW will launch as soon as possible PHEV versions in the 3 and 5 Touring and X1, X3 and X5 SUVs. The whole range should be available before the end of next year.
Only after that, fully electric models will follow. In the meantime, the BMW Group has recently released the electric Mini (with the technique of the i3 but not the costly carbon structure), but real electric BMW models will only follow by the end of next year (iX3) or in 2021 (iNext).
Dedicated platform or not?
BMW has changed its mind and doesn’t want to develop purely electric cars anymore. The i4 (2022), for example, will be assembled on the same line as the more conventional next 4 Grand Coupé with which it will share many other components, apart from the propulsion system.
According to BMW, there are specific markets that are already ready for electric mobility; others far less, and the company has to take that into account. The new boss of the Münchener manufacturer, Oliver Zipse, has stated this clearly at the IAA Motorshow in Frankfurt.
There is a sharp contrast with the plans BMW and Daimler were jointly presenting some six months ago. At the time Harald Krüger from BMW and Dieter Zetsche from Daimler announced the collaboration on a totally new, fully dedicated electric platform.
This should be used for compact and middle-class EVs of both brands and be the base of their future portfolio. Are we talking about a very long term vision here or is it due to the fact that both CEOs who closed the deal are already gone now?