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BMW Planning at Least Two More “i” Models, But What Then?

Other battery models may now go to mainstream BMW brand.

by on Oct.17, 2016

The i8 Spyder concept will likely undergo significant changes before the Roadster debuts in 2018.

BMW will launch two more models for its cutting-edge i brand over the next five years, starting with a 2018 roadster based on the next-generation i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. A version of the iNext concept vehicle will follow three years later.

That falls well short of the broad, electrified product line-up the maker had hinted was in the works only a few years ago, however. There are no signs of the i4 and i5 models that some sources once reported were in the works.

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Is BMW just keeping them under tight wraps? Have they been abandoned? Or has the maker simply shifted strategy, preferring to put more of its battery-based models – including pure electric and plug-in hybrids – into the mainstream BMW brand, rather than into the niche i marque?


Tesla, BMW Lose Key Battery-Car Talent

Apple and Chinese start-up Future Mobility go poaching.

by on Apr.20, 2016

Several key members of the BMW i team, including the head of i8 development, have bolted.

It still refuses to acknowledge any plans to develop a car of its own, but consumer electronics giant Apple has reportedly been poaching a number of auto industry veterans for what is believed to be known internally as Project Titan – and that now includes a senior Tesla executive.

Chris Porritt, a one-time Aston Martin designer, had been more recently working at Tesla, helping in the development of its two current products, the Models S and X, as well as the upcoming Model 3 battery-electric sedan. According reports in several Silicon Valley publications, Porritt will now serve at Apple as Special Projects Group PD Administrator.

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Porritt, however, isn’t the only battery-car executive jumping ship. German automaker BMW has reportedly lost a number of key members from the team that developed it i3 and i8 electric vehicles. The group, which includes Carsten Breitfeld, leader of the team behind the i8 plug-in sports car, will now work on EV development for the Chinese-funded start-up Future Mobility Corp.


BMW Aims to Redefine “The Ultimate Driving Machine”

But do hybrids, battery-cars and autonomous vehicles fit the brand?

by on Aug.31, 2015

BMW's Ian Robertson is betting technology won't turn off the brand's traditional fans.

Can you lay claim to building “the ultimate driving machine” if your fleet is filled with autonomous vehicles powered by plug-in hybrid and pure battery-electric drivetrains? That’s the very real question facing BMW.

The Bavarian maker’s sixth-generation 7-Series sedan comes as close to hands-free driving as anything on the road, and company officials promise they’re ready to push things further if regulators give them the go. The 2016 7-Series, meanwhile, will add a new plug-in model next year, with the technology set to roll out on a variety of other models over the next several years.

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“This is the flagship,” said Ian Robertson, the BMW board member in charge of global marketing, during a New York media drive of the new 750i sedan. “This is the vehicle that brings the latest innovations that will be spread through the rest of our line-up in the coming years.”


BMW Going Plug-In Hybrid With Next M3

System to provide big performance boost – and 20 miles EV range.

by on Aug.14, 2015

The 2015 BMW M3. The next version will give its Twin Power engine a hybrid boost.

© 2015

Aiming to give its iconic performance model a boost while also making it more environmentally friendly, BMW will migrate to a plug-in hybrid powertrain when the next version of its M3 sedan comes to market, several senior company officials have revealed.

The new system draws from both the German maker’s motorsports experience as well as some of the lessons it has learned since launching the BMW i battery-car sub-brand several years ago. Versions of the new drivetrain are expected to be used on a wide range of additional BMW models, and could be offered in both rear- and electric all-wheel-drive configurations.

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“We have a lot to learn from BMW i,” a senior executive who has worked on both the battery brand and on BMW M, told He noted that until recently, the maker saw it as one of the company’s “bookends,” a counterpoint to BMW M. But now the maker is ways the two can be brought closer together.


BMW May Add More Battery-Cars

New i5 crossover and larger SUV among options.

by on Aug.07, 2015

BMW is reportedly adding a new i3 battery crossover that would be similar in size to the current X3.

BMW’s CEO has added more evidence to suggest the Bavarian maker will expand its battery-based sub-brand, BMW i. While Chief Executive Harald Krueger didn’t offer specifics, a new electrified crossover is believed to be one of the options under development.

Meanwhile, sources suggest that BMW may add a big battery-electric SUV to its main brand in a direct challenge to the Tesla Model X sedan due to debut in the coming weeks. Separately, the German company is said to be reexamining the opportunities of working with Apple on the new high-tech vehicle the Silicon Valley powerhouse reportedly wants to develop.

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“Between the i3 and the i8, there is space if you look at it from the number point of view,” Harald Krueger said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.


Tesla May Collaborate with BMW

Makers could share batteries, carbon-fiber components.

by on Nov.24, 2014

Tesla CEO Elon Musk during a recent TV appearance.

(This story has been revised to reflect comments by BMW.)

Battery-carmaker Tesla Motors has begun discussing a possible collaboration with Germany’s BMW AG, according to the U.S. company’s CEO Elon Musk.

The two makers are discussing the use of sharing batteries and the lightweight components that can help improve vehicle range. The news comes a month after Germany’s Daimler AG sold off its 4% stake in Tesla.

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“We are talking about whether we can collaborate in battery technology or charging stations,” Musk said in an interview with the German news weekly Der Spiegel.


BMW Studies Options for an M Hybrid

But near-term focus is on downsized, turbocharged engines.

by on Jun.10, 2014

The 2015 BMW M3 gets a smaller, turbo engine.

Among the many products offered by a marque that bills itself “the ultimate driving machine,” it’s those branded with the vaunted “M” badge that best live up to that boast.

In recent years, BMW has significantly expanded its line-up of M offerings, including the new M3 and M4 models that go on sale this month. But those two high performance products reveal an ongoing shift in strategy for the M brand-within-a-brand, a move away from big-block naturally aspirated engines, to more technically sophisticated powertrains that are downsized and turbocharged.

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BMW is by no means alone. There have been reports that General Motors may take a similar route with the next-generation Corvette. But in an exclusive interview with, the chief engineer for BMW’s M line revealed the subsidiary is giving serious consideration to going a step further with hybrids and other battery-based powertrains.


BMW Reveals Running Prototype of New i8 Plug-in Hybrid

by on Aug.07, 2013

BMW is offering a closer look at this thinly disguised prototype of its i8 plug-in sports car.

Confirming plans to reveal the production version of its new plug-in hybrid at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW has also offered up a look at a camouflaged version of the new i8 battery sports cars.

The unveiling at the Miramas test track in France comes just a week after the Bavarian maker gave the world a first official look at another new electric model, the little i3 city car. Both the i3 and i8 will form the backbone of a new battery brand-within-a-brand to be called BMW i.

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The plug-in drivetrain will rely on a 231 horsepower turbocharged 3-cylinder 1.5-liter TwinPower Turbo gasoline engine – similar to what we’ll be seeing in a new version of the BMW 1- and 3-Series models but here paired to an electric motor turning out 131 horsepower. That will be enough to launch the BMW i8 from 0 to 60 in just 4.5 seconds, or roughly comparable to the fully-electric Tesla Model S.


BMW Sets $42,000 Price Tag for New i3 Battery Car

Official unveiling scheduled for July 29th in NY, London and Beijing.

by on Jul.22, 2013

BMW gets ready for the formal unveiling of the production i3 next week.

Though it’s still nearly a year from reaching U.S. showrooms, BMW has set a price of $42,275 for the new i3 electric vehicle that will serve as the launch platform for its all-new battery-car brand-within-a-brand, BMW i.

The little battery-electric vehicle will primarily target urban commuters who’re nonetheless looking for more than just basic transportation. The BMW i3 will not only offer more up-market attributes but also will be notable as the auto industry’s first mass-produced vehicle to make extensive use of super-light carbon fiber.

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“The BMW i3 heralds the dawn of a new era for individual mobility and for the BMW Group,” suggested Ian Robertson, Member of the Board of Management, Sales and Marketing BMW. “True to a genuine BMW, the BMW i3 has strong emotional appeal, outstanding product substance and a guarantee of sheer driving pleasure.  With this leading-edge vehicle and attractive price, we will provide customers with a compelling offer for electromobility.” (more…)

First Look: BMW i3 Coupe Concept

Bavarian maker’s new battery-car family grows bigger.

by on Nov.28, 2012

BMW imagines a new Coupe Concept version of the i3 battery car for the LA Auto Show.

BMW’s new battery-car brand has yet to sell a single car but if the i3 Coupe Concept at the LA Auto Show is any indication, the new line will be getting bigger in a hurry.

Officially designated a “study,” the i3 Coupe has a lot in common with the rest of what BMW hopes will become an entirely new line-up of environmentally friendly models, starting with the upcoming launch of the bigger i8 plug-in.

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One thing all of the new BMW “i” models will share is the use of lightweight carbon fiber bodies designed to maximize range, as well as performance.  With the i3 Coupe Concept, the maker has adopted what it bills as a new “stream flow” design concept that is meant to convey “an instant impression of lightness, transparency and streamlined aerodynamic qualities.”