The Future of BMW is in the i of the Beholder
Have you wondered when, if ever, BMW would put out another i model to go along with the i3 and i8? There has been talk of making this happen, but recent announcements lean toward more than just an i division sub brand, but a full electrification of the brand. BMW expects to take more than just a couple models to the electric powertrains but hopes to create an entire lineup of electric vehicles that offer the power and efficiency desired. To do this they have a few hurdles to jump over.
Right now much of the focus isn’t on making the lineup more efficient by using electric powertrains but making the power work to fit in the M models. These high performance machines that represent the exciting and sporty drive of the models that we want to enjoy on the track and on the road have been some of the most impressive vehicles we’ve ever driven. Many owners of the M models from BMW are driving purists and aren’t sure about the change to electric power, but BMW is most likely a long way off from being able to have the lineup needed to go completely electric.
The challenge facing the M division of BMW is the power to weight issue which is even more difficult with electrification and the weight that batteries and an electric motor add to the equation. Right now the challenge is to add a hybrid powertrain to the lineup in order to boost the power of these cars while using the current engines in place or to replace these engines with smaller and lighter models while maintaining the power numbers already in place. Each part of the equation is another step forward for BMW as they work through the various challenges at hand.
With the i sub brand already in place it seems like the M division should use some of the tech from the i project but the leaders of the M division have already stated that’s not part of the plan. There isn’t even a consideration for a performance derivative of the i vehicles that will be put out with the M label on them either. The reasoning is simple, the i division is made for efficiency across the board while the M division is for performance and the two don’t go hand in hand when building vehicles.
Will there be a time when all vehicles from BMW are driven on electricity? That’s certainly possible and what the brand is looking toward for the future. The time it may take to have this happen may be much longer than we could hope, but BMW may be on the right track by keeping these two segments of their operation separate from each other in order to have the right build and drive of the different style and performing vehicles on the road. If BMW has their future mapped out in electric vehicles, it may lead the way for the rest of the automakers to follow.