BMW was an early EV leader with the innovative i3, but later seemed to lose interest. The i3 remains on the market, posting decent but unremarkable sales in Europe and getting an occasional upgrade. Now, after eight years, the next electric Beemer has arrived. BMW delivered the first units of its new i4 EV at the recent BMW World event at corporate HQ in Munich.
The new i4 will be offered in different variants. The launch version has an 83.9 kWh battery pack and a dual-motor powertrain that delivers 390kW (530 hp) of power. Range is up to 300 miles (on the EPA cycle), and 0-100 km/h acceleration is around four seconds. A single-motor option will also be offered. DC fast charging happens at “up to 205 kW.”
BMW says the i4 will be launched in the US next year at a starting price of $56,395.
“With the BMW i4, we have absolutely struck a chord,” said Bernhard Kuhnt, Senior VP BMW Group Market Germany. “You can see this from the very high demand for this car. We are delighted to be expanding our electrified product line-up with this sporty, fully-electric Gran Coupé at exactly the right time and to present the first vehicles to our customers today—three months earlier than originally planned. The first delivery of a BMW i4 today, and the first BMW iX in about a week, are further milestones for the BMW Group on the road to electromobility.”
Kuhnt went on to tout BMW’s expanding electrification efforts. “One in four BMWs delivered in Germany [is an EV or PHEV]. By the end of the third quarter, around 41,900 electrified BMWs and 8,820 electrified MINIs had been delivered to customers this year. The fully-electric MINI Cooper SE already accounts for about 20 percent of MINI brand sales. The BMW Group has almost doubled its sales of electrified models in Germany compared with the previous year, at around 25 percent.”
More EVs are in the pipeline: “in the coming years,” we’ll see fully-electric versions of the BMW 7 Series, BMW X1 and the high-volume BMW 5 Series, as well as a successor to the MINI Countryman and the all-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre.
By 2023, the BMW Group says it will offer at least one fully-electric model in about 90 percent of its current market segments. It expects pure EVs to account for at least 50 percent of its global sales in 2030.
Of course, BMW, like all automakers, tells different stories to different audiences. Even as the company trumpeted its EV bona fides in Germany, it was reassuring US auto buyers that gas-guzzlers are still very much in style. At the recent Art Basel show in Miami Beach, BMW presented the Concept XM (aka “Exhibit A for the argument that PHEVs should not be eligible for government subsidies”). This behemoth, which is expected to go into series production at the end of next year, combines a V8 engine with an electric motor, and delivers maximum output of 550 kW (750 hp). Electric range is a ho-hum 50 miles.