In addition to the widely reported EVs derived from its global top-selling models like the BMW 3 Series, BMW X1, and BMW 5 Series, BMW Group has planned electric cars which it has managed to keep off the radar. Two of such unannounced, secretive EV projects are BMW i1 and BMW i2, coming from the British media.
According to a new report from CAR magazine, a BMW i1 entry-level EV was almost given the green signal for production a year ago. Nine months later, though, the company is at crossroads about choosing its platform, as per the report. The British publication didn’t say if the i1 would be a 1 Series successor and thus a compact car, or something smaller.
Initially, the i1 could have been built on the same platform co-developed with Great Wall Motors that will underpin a new 3.5-metre-long MINI city car rumored to be called MINI Minor. Now, the Die Neue Klasse platform presents a proper in-house alternative. Whether this new platform will be usable for city cars initially isn’t known. The first model built on it is scheduled to debut in concept form at IAA 2021 and arrive in the first markets in 2025. German compatriot Daimler is developing its Smart city models on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture which debuted on the Zeekr 001.
Industrial designer Giorgi Tedoradze has created a rendering of the BMW i1 that shows it as a three-door urban car. The dimensions hint at A-segment positioning, although with a dedicated EV platform, the interior has to be bigger than that of a traditional city car. The large, vertical kidney grille makes the car look brawny, and along with the sleek and sharp headlamps, gives an aggressive styling at the front. The low and short hood, extremely rakish windshield, short overhangs, big five-twin-spoke alloy wheels, low-profile tyres, two-tone paint scheme, and contrast colour stripes give a sporty appearance to the rendered i1.
The BMW i2 is still to be taken with a pinch of salt, as CAR magazine calls it “the unlikely one.” There are mixed views about this model, with some saying it’s nothing more than an idea, while others being confident about its conception. The believers see it as a pure electric long-wheelbase 2 Series Gran Coupe designed for China. However, if an i2 is indeed planned, a crossover shape would make more sense in terms of volumes.
BMW Group plans to have 13 EVs in its showrooms by 2023. Obviously, some of them would be MINI models, but most would be BMWs. By the end of 2025, it aims to increase its cumulative EV sales to around two million units. By 2030, no less than 50% of its sales would come from EVs.
Featured image: BMW i1 Isetta by Giorgi Tedoradze