Brand senior vice present Hildegard Wortmann said the i division’s autonomous systems will trickle out much in the same why its electric tech has

Autonomous technology developed by BMW's i division for its first driverless car will start to trickle out into the brand's wider model range from 2021, BMW senior vice president Hildegard Wortmann has told Autocar.

Speaking ahead of January’s WhatCar? Awards, Wortmann said this trickle technique was used to integrate electric technology from the i3 and i8 into almost every model in BMW's line-up. “BMW has the largest number of plug-in hybrids on the road," she said. "You can have a plug-in hybrid from the [2 Series] Active Tourer to the 7 Series, so in every segment we have an offer out on the street today."

Wortmann explained that the passing of EV technology to the wider range means the division isn’t tied to electric powertrains anymore. She said that the i brand's core focus was now on developing autonomous systems.

“With BMW i, the i is not electric – otherwise it would have been an e – the i is for innovation and incubator function,” she said. “We always said the first generation for BMW i would be focused on the incubator function for electro mobility, but BMW i will move on and you will see that in our 2021 car.

Wortmann said that beyond 2021, this pattern would continue with the next phase of technology. “[The i brand] will always stand for the latest, very specific stuff,” she continued. “It gives us a great chance to come up with cool stuff without having to go to the wider range immediately.

“When we launched the i brand the focus was on EVs. Now it’s on autonomous technology, but after that, the focus will move on.”

Our Verdict

BMW i8
The BMW i8 joins the i3 as part of the firm's 'i' range of vehicles

Can BMW's baby hypercar blow the lid off performance convention?

Join the debate


26 January 2017
Typical BMW selfish attitude.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

26 January 2017

26 January 2017
Just doesn't sound as good....

27 January 2017
On the evidence of the quality of driving on the M40 each morning, most cars are already driverless.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
    First Drive
    19 March 2018
    The Mercedes-Benz E-Class could be all the estate car you’ll ever want — or it could be overkill. Let’s see which...
  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?