Among the i models at the centre of BMW’s electrification strategy is a further developed version of the continuously evolving i3, an all-electric Mini, the BMW iX3 SUV and the all-new i4. BMW will follow that with a more advanced range of premium electric cars boasting solid-state battery technology and autonomous driving features, previewed with the latest iNext concept.
Whereas the i3, Mini Cooper E and iX3 will be familiar designs, Krüger has described the i4 as a Tesla Model 3 rival. Sources suggest it will be based on a modified platform from the new second-generation 4 Series – itself similar to the CLAR structure that underpins the new 3 Series.
The i4 is set to draw heavily on the design of the four-door i Vision Dynamics concept revealed at last year’s Frankfurt motor show. Krüger said it will have a range of up to 435 miles and “redefine what is possible today for 0-62mph times”.
“The leading factors that will set it apart are fantastic design, which is very different to anything else on the road, and the fact that it is lighter and therefore more dynamic than anything we see on the market today, thanks to the materials we will use. Couple that with the connectivity technology we are constantly developing and we are confident it will lead the market” Krüger continued.
Sources suggest BMW is considering two drivetrain options for the i4. The first uses a front-mounted electric motor in combination with a fixed ratio gearbox and an electric propeller shaft to channel drive to the rear wheels. This layout would give the i4 traditional BMW traits and, according to one source, the best possible weight distribution.
The second, and more costly, option is to use two electric motors, one driving the front wheels and a second within the rear axle assembly driving the rear wheels.
Similar to the system that’s set to appear on the iX3 next year, it offers the choice between front- and four-wheel drive, depending on the drive mode that is selected. To achieve performance targets similar to those of the current 335d, BMW is banking on a total output for the electric motor set-up of the i4, whether as a single unit or dual units front and rear, of approximately 350bhp.
During a press conference at the Geneva motor show in March, Krüger said the i4 will be built in Munich, suggesting it could run down the same production line as the second generation 4 Series.
If the landmark EU ruling on CO2 emissions is ratified by all member states, it will force BMW to adhere to a fleet average CO2 limit of around 70g/km by 2030 – a significant 52g/km less than the existing 122g/km announced by the company back in March. To achieve this, Krüger has given not only the green light for 12 pure-electric models but also 25 plug-in hybrids by 2025.