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Frankfurt show: BMW hints at i5 reveal

Elm street: BMW chairman of the board of management Harald Krueger stands in front of a shrouded new model expected to be unveiled as the i5 all-electric sedan.

Four-door, all-electric i5 expected to be uncovered on BMW’s Frankfurt show stand

BMW logo8 Sep 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN

BMW has given its strongest indication yet that it will unveil its long-rumoured i5 all-electric premium large sedan to compete directly against the Tesla Model S at next week’s Frankfurt motor show.

Speaking during a pre-show event, BMW chairman of the board of management Harald Krueger said Frankfurt will play host to a new model that will slot in between its two other iPerformance vehicles.

“At this year’s IAA, we will unveil another significant milestone in our road map for e-mobility,” he said. “It is a vision of how we imagine a four-door, fully electric vehicle between the i3 and i8.

“It is a vision we want to realise in the foreseeable future. And a further step in our commitment to sustainable mobility.”

Likely the i5 in concept form, rumours are pointing to a potential on-sale date some time in 2019 for the expected all-electric sedan with enough juice to match the Tesla Model S’ circa-630km range in P100D guise.

However, the production i5 could also mirror its i3 REx hatchback sibling and offer a petrol-assisted range-extender version which uses a combustion engine to charge the batteries.

The i5 is also likely to mirror its iPerformance siblings (and flagship 7 Series sedan) with a high-tech carbon-fibre reinforced plastic and aluminium body construction to minimise weight while not compromising structural integrity.

Mr Krueger also revealed BMW’s commitment to bringing electrification across more of its line-up, including M performance models and ultra-luxurious Rolls-Royce vehicles.

“We will be increasing the share of electrified models across all brands and mode series,” he said. “And, yes, that also includes the Rolls-Royce brand and BMW M vehicles.”“Today, we are very proud to offer customers the broadest range of electrified premium cars worldwide.

“This fall, we will have ten electrified vehicles available: nine electrified cars and our fully-electric C evolution.”

Starting with an electrified Mini E fleet in 2008, the first fully electric production vehicle from BMW came in the form of the i3 in 2014.

Electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid technology has now proliferated across some of BMW’s model range, including the plug-in hybrid 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series and X5 SUV.

Overseas markets also have access to an electrified 2 Series Active Tourer, while it is expected the forthcoming X7 crossover and 8 Series flagship coupe will also be made available with full-electric or hybrid powertrains.

Mini is also expected to release its plug-in Countryman crossover late next year before charging up for an electrified three-door hatch.

Mr Krueger said the electrified range would expand even further in the future – including an emissions-free version of the new-generation X3 crossover – with 25 offerings to be made available over the next eight years.

“We are currently gearing all BMW Group plants towards e-mobility,” he said.

“In the future, we will be able to equip all our models with every drivetrain.

“By 2025, we will offer 25 electrified vehicles – 12 will be fully electric.

Today, and at the IAA, you will see the concept vehicle for the first series electric Mini, for release in 2019.

“We will be introducing the first BMW core model – the X3 – as a BEV in 2020.”

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