While BMW recently ruled out the possibility of launching a supercar next year to celebrate its centenary, the rumor-mill is still running in overdrive suggesting that a third ‘i’ badged model will be introduced in the form of the BMW i5. Now, Auto Express claims such a model could be an SUV.
Initially, reports indicated that the BMW i5 could be a sedan, aimed directly at the all-electric Tesla Model S. However, because of strong sales growth of SUVs around the world and demand for the Tesla Model X, executives at BMW are said to be pushing for the new i5 to be an SUV.
It seems that while the i5 may be revealed next year, it probably won’t go on sale until 2017 to make the most of new incentives in Germany. Unlike the range-topping i8 sports car, the BMW i5 should adopt an all-electric powertrain and could make use of a small-capacity range extender to effectively double its range.
According to BMW board member responsible for sales and marketing, Ian Roberston, new battery technology will play a part with the i5. “The tech is developing fast – we’ll see steps made with lithium-ion batteries and then lithium air will make progress. But next we’ll see solid state batteries without the wet sticky stuff in them – that’s where real progress will be made in terms of density and packaging,” Roberston said.
Beyond its electric powertrain, the i5 will draw on the i3, i8 and new 7-Series in its use of carbon fibre.