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BMW i5 Will Be a Family-Oriented EV, Says Bavarian Official

There has been a lot of speculation over the next model in BMW's i range, and it's easy to understand why. Looking at the two cars currently populating BMW's experimental branch, the two have very few things in common.
BMW i5 rendering 1 photo
One is a lovely bulldog-looking urban vehicle with large but thin wheels that do their best to cope with the phenomenal torque that can be delivered to the rear axle. The other is a gorgeous plug-in hybrid coupe with Porsche 911 performance figures and diesel hatchback fuel consumption. Now try and imagine what could be fitted in between these two. Everything, right?

Well, add BMW's reluctance to say too much about the i5, apart from the fact that it's happening, and you've got yourself the perfect scenario for endless speculations. And we do love to speculate, don't we? Well, there is now a little more to work with, thanks to an interview with the i range head of product, Henrik Wenders, taken by Car and Driver.

The BMW official has confirmed that the i5 will be an EV, and not a plug-in hybrid or using hydrogen fuel cells, as previous reports imagined. He didn't say it out loud, but he did confirm the new model would have an optional range extender, like the i3, which is just as good. “The range-extender plays an important part in the next years when range remains a limiting factor and a source of anxiety,” he told Car and Driver.

With a limited range compared to, say, a Tesla, the BMW i3 needed the range extender - actually, studies show that it's the owners who need it, as it is very rarely used but instead acts as a psychological comfort. The i3 is always the second or third car in the household, but with the i5, BMW is trying to change that: “We are thinking of a new i model above it to attract families, and that means it must be capable of being the first car in the household. We are still working very hard on the usage concept, but this needs to be defined by the market and not by us.”

There is still no word on what the i5 will look like, or at least what type of body it will use - that's still a closely guarded secret and no amount of tongue pulling managed to extract anything from Mr. Wenders. However, we still have some new pieces of information to chew on, and also the confirmation that BMW is still working hard on developing its range of alternative-propulsion vehicles. But the i5 is going to be a very important model for BMW, so the company's extreme secrecy is understandable.


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