NEW YORK — BMW will introduce the i4 and iNext EVs in 2020 and 2021, but the cars that startedthe automaker's electric subbrand — the i3 and i8 — may not have a future beyond their current generation.
Those cars, which made their debut in 2014 and have been updated recently, won't go away anytime soon. BMW freshened the i3, a fully electric compact car, in 2017. The i8, a plug-in hybrid sports car, will have a freshened coupe version and new roadster variant this spring. But ending them after the current iterations is an open decision, BMW officials told Automotive News.
It's too early to say whether there will be successor vehicles that carry the i3 and i8 names, Stefan Juraschek, BMW's head of electric powertrain, said in an interview at the New York auto show last week.
"These cars are very unique," Juraschek said. "These two cars were not [developed] as a family that we can expand in different [ways] or maybe five or 10 derivatives."
Instead, they were technology showcases, and the research that went into them is enabling BMW's current approach to electric-vehicle development, officials said. BMW is overhauling its core platforms to accommodate combustion, electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains. Those next-generation architectures will be ready for production vehicles after 2021, Juraschek said, and the componentry for electric vehicles will be grouped into a modular kit compatible with the architecture.
"Therefore, we are very flexible at that point," he said.