It seems like BMW wants to make the most of the i sub-brand and offering just 2 cars wearing the new blue logo doesn’t seem right. Therefore, in a recent interview, BMW’s new research and development boss, Klaus Frolich confirmed that a new model is currently entering its first stages of development.
Of course, it’s going to be a tedious process that will span over several years but even so, the announcement was pending for quite some time as various reports said that the brand not only trademarked all the i names from i1 to i9 but they also had a couple of ideas as to where to look next.
“We are still in the strategic research phase where we brainstorm. Teams that start with a white sheet of paper. They talk with customers, hold workshops, then present their ideas and we decide,” he told Automotive News Europe.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the expected delivery date is scheduled somewhere after 2020 and that only makes sense. In a recent interview we had with the designer of the new BMW X6 we found that for that model alone, development took around 4 years so we’re right on schedule here as well. Of course, being an i car, the research could take longer to choose the best technology for it.
Furthermore, just like the i3 and i8, the new eco-friendly auto will have to be developed from the group up, not built atop an already available model that would just be changed to use an electric powertrain.
The biggest issue will probably be choosing whether to be a coupe, sedan or SUV. We tend to believe it’s going to be a sedan, a car that would take on the Tesla Model S but with the ever increasing popularity of SUVs and crossovers, that might also be a strong candidate.
More juice from the batteries
On the same subject, Frolich said that every three years, their research finds ways to make batteries better and store up to 20 percent more energy. That means that future cars will get more range from a pack that weighs and has the same size as the current offerings in the i3 and i8.
That’s bad news for the ones that were early adopters of the cars because retrofitting won’t be possible as the battery packs are bonded to the body of the car. However, prices for the current cars will go down while the new alternatives will offer more range.