BMW’s plan to flood the market with electric cars involves launching a battery-powered version of the 1-Series that will be marketed as the i1.
The full electric i1 could arrive in the market as early as 2021, according to Auto Express which had a chat with BMW i boss Robert Irlinger.
“Even in the front-drive architecture you will see fully electrified cars,” Irlinger said. “You will see electrification in our whole portfolio. We can rework our front-wheel-drive as well as the rear-wheel-drive platforms and both are able to show all technologies – our customers have the power of choice.
“Whatever they demand they can get – a plug-in hybrid X3, a fully-electric 4 Series, too. That’s a big step and a big change in our strategy”, Irlinger added.
BMW’s EV strategy is to keep its battery electric vehicles visually similar to their ICE-powered counterparts. The German car maker’s upcoming i4 will be the EV sibling to the 4-Series while the iX3 retains the same bodywork with the regular X3, so to expect the i1 to be a 1-Series with a blanked-off front grille isn’t that far-fetched.
“The i4 is the four-door sports sedan, fully electrified, clearly visible as an iCar,” Irlinger explained. “You can see the concept of the 4 Series as a two-door coupé and the i4 is going be the four-door coupé – it’s going to be based on the concept, but it’s fully electric.”
The electric hatch could also offer the option of two electric motors, making it essentially all-wheel driven in addition to the more affordable front-driven version powered by just one motor.
As for the current i3, Irlinger said that you shouldn’t expect a direct replacement. “We are not in the normal process of having a car that has to have a successor.”