Pieter Nota, head of BMW sales, has told the Financial Times that the German luxury carmaker will not replace the i3 battery electric vehicle (BEV). BMW will instead concentrate on introducing battery and plug-in hybrid technology in its other vehicles and developing new BEVs.
‘There’s no specific plan for an i3 successor,’ said Nota. ‘We are now bringing electrification more to the mainstream,’ he added. While BMW plans to release plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of its best-selling models, emissions targets have also led them to plan 13 BEVs by 2023. The new range of BEVs will kick off with the iNext model, announced for 2021.
The Financial Times article also reports that BMW wants to push the electrification of other popular models instead of investing in the i3. The i4 announced for model year 2021, for example, is essentially a 3-series with electric power and a heavily modified body but production is possible on the same line as cars with internal combustion engines.
In 2023, the i5 (based on the 5 Series) and the iX5 (based on the X5) will be launched on the market. In the same year, the i7 (based on the seventh generation of the 7 Series, internally called G70) will also be shown. This means that the G70 will offer all three drive types: a pure electric car, a plug-in hybrid and a combustion engine.
The i3 was an electric pioneer for BMW and the industry in general and more than 150,000 units have been sold since its launch in 2013. BMW will continue to sell the car for a few more years, however - ‘The i3 is actually doing extremely well in its sixth year of production already,’ Nota commented.
Earlier this month, commenting on business performance in August, Nota said that continued strong sales growth of the BMW i3 was another positive for the business, with the i3 being the world's most successful electric vehicle in its segment. He noted that the plug-in hybrid version of the new BMW 3 Series, the BMW 330e, was also added to BMW’s line-up of electric vehicles in August. The BMW i3 sold 24,870 units (+21.2%) worldwide through to August this year.
BMW recently confirmed that Oliver Zipse will replace Harald Krüger as the company’s CEO. One of the reasons for Krüger’s downfall is believed to be BMW’s lack of progress in electric vehicles. There have been questions over the carmaker’s commitment to the technology and its failure to capitalise on its early adoption of the technology with the i3.