In Munich on Tuesday, BMW revealed it is speeding up the plan to electrify its model range. Previously, it had committed to introducing 25 electric vehicles by the year 2025. Now, those EVs will reach us by 2023. Of those 25, BMW says more than half will be battery EVs, with the remainder being plug-in hybrid EVs (hopefully).
“By 2021, we will have doubled our sales of electrified vehicles compared with 2019,” said Harald Krüger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, in Munich on Tuesday. “We will offer 25 electrified vehicles already in 2023—two years earlier than originally planned. We expect to see a steep growth curve towards 2025: Sales of our electrified vehicles should increase by an average of 30 percent every year.”
The Bavarian car company has actually been rather proactive when it comes to electrification. It created the BMW i sub brand as a place to experiment with lightweight construction and electrification, which gave us the charming i3 city car and the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. When it introduced the 530e plug-in hybrid, it bucked the trend of making PHEVs more expensive than their non-hybrid siblings, offering it at the exact same price as the plain-old 530i.
As we’ve detailed previously, BMW’s newest vehicle architecture is highly flexible, allowing the company to use any powertrain—internal combustion, PHEV, or BEV, in any new model using that toolkit. BMW says that this is the reason it’s able to pull its timeframe forward by two years.
What do we know about these new cars?
We already know about some of the models that are due in the next four years. Later this year, a BEV Mini will go into production in England. An electric version of the existing X3 crossover called the iX3 will go into production in China in 2020 and may be exported to Europe and the US.
In 2021, production begins on the iNext, a similarly sized fully electric crossover that we checked out (in an airplane no less) last fall. You may remember that one as having an interior like a boutique hotel, which is surely not going to make it into the production version. That same year, BMW will also bring us the i4, which is almost certainly a production version of the I Vision Dynamics concept I swooned over in 2017.
On top of that, there will be PHEV versions of the 3 series, 7 series, and X5; a China-only PHEV X1; and then new PHEV 5 Series and 2 Series models using the fifth generation of BMW’s EV technology that should squeeze in more kWh and more range. BMW says that PHEV versions of the X1 (for Europe and the US) and a PHEV 3 Series touring (station wagon) are also in the works.
At the event in Munich, BMW also unveiled the Vision M Next. It’s pretty clear from the way the concept looks that it’s a replacement for the i8, which should end speculation as to the future of that car. BMW says that the Vision M Next, a PHEV like the i8, will have 600hp, a 3-second 0 to 62mph (0-100km/h), and a top speed of 186mph (300km/h), which should comfortably outclass the recently refreshed i8, assuming the production car keeps to those targets.