BMW Autonomous EV Christened iNEXT, Heralds a New Era of Mobility

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Photo: Catalin Garmacea
i Phone, i Pad, i Mac, i 3, i 8, i everything. The branding world is madly in love with the lowercase i, from phone manufacturers to carmakers, especially BMW. After two crowd-pleasing products that begin with an i, a third one will follow in the guise of the i5. But this story isn’t about the forthcoming i5.
This story is about the Bavarian company taking it to the next level with a product that has been christened iNEXT. Slated to arrive in the next 10 years, the BMW iNEXT will make use of new sensor technology and powerful software to allow automated driving. BMW is 110 percent confident about their autonomous vehicle’s capabilities, promising that it “will set a new benchmark in this area.”

Chief executive officer Harald Krueger declared at BMW’s annual financial conference that the iNEXT would be ready early in the 2020s. Klaus Froehlich, the manufacturer’s board member for research & development, commented that the BMW iNEXT “will be what our BMW 7 Series is today,” referring to jibber-jabber like individual mobility and other details that don’t mean anything whatsoever.

Krueger is more to the point, bragging about state-of-the-art autonomous driving technology, innovative lightweight construction solutions, a trendsetting interior, and “the next generation of electro-mobility.” I have no doubt that BMW will make the all-electric iNEXT happen, but let’s keep our feet firmly placed on the ground and accept the fact that few people will buy into self-driving cars, at least in the first decade after the futuristic technology is brought to market.

Instead of an HAL 9000 on four wheels, people like you and me will prefer conventional EVs, hybrids, and ICE cars, at least until the wow factor wears off autonomous vehicles. Before the high-reaching BMW iNEXT comes around to play, the German powerhouse will debut a roadster version of the i8 hybrid supercar, an i3 with improved batteries and better range, a hybrid MINI, a full-size luxury crossover known as the X7, and a hell-bent for leather M7.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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