Despite sluggish sales, i3 project manager Heinrich Schwackhoefer strongly believes the electrified city hatch has a future.
The i3 went on sale towards the end of 2013 and as most of you know sales haven’t been that great, with only a little over 60,000 units delivered to date. As you would imagine, BMW was expecting the i3 to be a better performer, but even so the model’s project manager Heinrich Schwackhoefer says that in no way the current car has been labeled as a failure within the company.
In his interview with Automotive News, Schwackhoefer said he’s very confident as far as a second-generation i3 is concerned, but without going into details regarding the model’s launch. It makes sense not to talk about a successor taking into account the current car has been around for only three years, so a replacement is probably not due until towards the end of the decade.
Earlier this year, the BMW i3 received a significant update bringing a higher-density battery featuring a bump in capacity from 22 kWh to 33 kWh. The new pack was developed in collaboration with Samsung and can be had for both the pure electric version and the REx fitted with a range-extending gasoline engine. The battery has enough juice for an EPA-certified 114 miles (183 kilometers) on a single charge for the electric version, thus representing a major boost over the previous 81-mile range of the 2016 model year.
In regards to the other “i”-badged model, the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car was launched in mid-2014 and has been built in over 10,000 examples so far. BMW has reconfirmed the coupe will be joined in 2018 by a roadster version previewed recently by the i Vision Future Interaction concept introduced in January at CES.
Some other changes are being prepared for the “i” lineup, with a bigger flagship electric model with autonomous driving capabilities slated for 2021. Outside the “i” family, an all-electric Mini will be out in 2019 and a year later BMW is going to introduce a zero-emissions X3 based on the compact crossover’s upcoming third generation spotted just yesterday by our spies.
Source: BMW via Automotive News Europe