Putting an end to a long-standing rumor, BMW CEO Harald Krüger has confirmed the eco-friendly i sub-brand will be expanded in the not-too-distant future with a new model that will slot above the all-electric i3 city car.
The executive declined to elaborate but he hinted that the model will be entirely electric. At this point, it’s too early to tell if the yet-unnamed car will take the form of a tall people-mover like the i3 (pictured), or if it will be a sleek-looking sedan like the 3 and the 5 Series. More details about BMW’s next EV will trickle out over the coming months, and it might be previewed by a close-to-production concept next year.
BMW will continue to make regular improvements to the i3. Speaking to German newspaper Die Zeit, Krüger announced that the EV’s driving range will be increased when it’s given a mid-cycle facelift next year, and it could be doubled in approximately three or four years. Taken at face value, the comments indicate that, in about 2019, i3 owners will be able to drive for up to 200 miles on a single charge without ordering the 650cc, two-cylinder range extended that’s offered as an option. Surprisingly, the increase isn’t expected require the use of a bulkier battery pack.
The bigger model and the more capable i3 are expected to noticeably widen the i sub-brand’s clientele. However, Krüger warned that government officials in Europe and abroad need to step up their support of electric and plug-in hybrid technology in order to make clean vehicles accessible to the masses.
Even with a two-model lineup and without widespread support from politicians, the i sub-brand is doing relatively well. BMW expects to sell twice as many i-badged cars this year as it did in 2014, and Krüger proudly told Die Zeit that the i3 is the third-best-selling electric vehicle on the planet.