I returned this morning from a week-long work trip to New York to find myself in possession of a very unusual vehicle. This is a BMW i3 with a range extender and I’m testing it through next week. It should be a very interesting week.
I wanted to chat about the future of electric mobility with the man who knows about it all: Henrik Wenders, Head of BMW’s i division. He turned out to be a down to earth guy who believes cities without noise and air pollution is a vision worth working for. Talk about being at the right place!
During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, it made sense to use an experimental BMW as an escort vehicle for long distance runners. Everybody got to breathe fresh air and BMW got some nice PR. Four decades later the i3 arrived, but this was the original electric BMW.
The expansion of BMW's i sub-brand is inevitable, and the next obvious model in the pipeline is a sedan, likely wearing an i5 or i7 badge. But despite calling BMW's new electrically motivated sedan a "Tesla fighter", Car reports that it's going to use an internal combustion engine to extend range.
BMW will announce the official new sub-brand name on Monday. The project, dubbed "i" since its inception, will focus on electric and small vehicles. The first car will be the Mega City Vehicle, going on sale in 2013.