BMW Considering All-Electric Replacement For The i8 Hybrid Sports Car
Proposed electric sports car will make use of three electric motorsby Kirby, on
The BMW i8 has proven to be a big hit for BMW, so much so that the company’s i-division is already pondering the possibility of building an all-electric prototype that could eventually replace the hybrid version in the future.
According to Autocar, the prototype model will come with a larger battery and three high-revving electric motors that will take the place of the hybrid system that’s currently in use by today’s model. Official plans are still being kept under wraps, but word has it that the all-electric i8 will also be based on the same carbon fiber structure that was developed for the i division’s i8-looking fuel cell research vehicle that was unveiled back in July 2015.
The electric i8 will also likely weigh a little more than the hybrid version on account of the larger battery, although BMW doesn’t expect the weight difference to be significant considering that the current model already weighs 3,274 pounds.
Autocar also said that power will come from the three new brushless electric motors, which will send power to the car’s four wheels. One of these motors will be mounted at the front with the other two being placed at the back, taking up the space currently occupied by the current i8’s 1.5-liter, turbocharged, three-cylinder engine. These motors are tipped to be the trump cards for the all-electric i8 as each motor is rumored to carry 268 horsepower. It doesn’t automatically follow that 268 x 3 = 804 horsepower, but it just shows the potential should the all-electric i8 come to fruition.
When that will be is another question entirely because the current hybrid i8 is due for a facelift. The heavily modified model is scheduled to hit the market in 2017 and is reported to carry a significant amount of new technology derived from BMW’s i8-based Formula E safety car. So, until the facelifts i8 hits the market, don’t expect the all-electric version to arrive anytime soon.
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Why it matters
It hasn’t been reflected in sales numbers yet but, across the board, the BMW i8 has shown why BMW spent a lot of time, money, and resources in its development. It’s no wonder that the German automaker is already mulling the possibility of an all-electric version of the i8 to eventually replace the hybrid version once the life cycle of the 2017 facelift is up.
Granted, a lot about this story is predicated on a lot of speculation because the facelifted i8 has yet to arrive and, just as important, the electric version isn’t expected to arrive until at least the turn of the decade. Do the math and that’s three-and-a-half years from now, which is an eternity in the auto industry. Simply put, a lot of things can happen in the next year or two that could dramatically alter BMW’s future plans.
But, it is exciting to see that BMW’s i division appears to be making a concerted effort in planning out the long-term future of the i8 while taking into account the potential implications brought about by shifting ideologies in and out of the auto industry. That tells you that BMW has a lot of faith in the i8, and it should because the current iteration is a stand out model that could one day be looked at as a pioneer amongst hybrid sports cars.
It’s too early to say that now, as it is too early to make plans of buying an all-electric i8. But it’s already out there and you can be sure that, at one point or another, BMW will have to dress it. Let’s just hope that day comes sooner than later.
Read our full review on the BMW i8 here.