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BMW will build a family-friendly four-door EV called i5 … will it be a sedan or a crossover?

BMW has finally shed a little bit of light into what we can expect from the next brand new addition to its eco-friendly i sub-brand.

Engineers are in the early stages of designing a third model that’s tentatively called i5. It will fill the wide gap that separates the i3 city car from the i8 coupe, and it will take the form of a family-friendly four-door model. BMW has yet to reveal whether the i5 will be a sedan or a crossover, but Henrik Wenders, i’s head of product, told Car & Driver that it will be built around a weight-saving carbon fiber monocoque, a manufacturing technique already used on the i3 and the i8.

The i5 will hit the market with an all-electric drivetrain, and BMW will offer a gasoline-burning range extender at an extra cost in order to quell range anxiety. Unlike the i3, which is often bought as a second or third car, the i5 will be aimed at families who will use it as their primary means of transportation. Range will consequently be of the utmost importance, but Wenders explained BMW won’t fight in the range war that’s currently brewing in the auto industry.

“We are not going to join the race about maximum range figures. Currently, if you compare those figures and see what kind of energy investment is behind it, you often see the total carbon footprint of those models is higher than for a car with an internal-combustion engine. That doesn’t make any kind of sense,” he pointed out.

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Wenders declined to reveal precisely when the BMW i5 will make its debut, though it’s not expected to arrive until 2020 at the earliest. The EV might be previewed by a close-to-production concept in the next few years.