BMW is planning a new roadster version of its BMW i8 plug-in hybrid next year and today it released the first teaser images of the vehicle.
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While the i8 is part of the German’s automaker ‘BMW i’ brand, which it presents as its electric brand, the vehicle is more aligned with the company’s ‘eDrive’ plug-in hybrid vehicles.
It features only a 7 kWh battery pack, which enables about 15 EPA-rated miles of range on all-electric mode.
Nonetheless, the BMW i8 has found some success in its segment. The vehicle, which starts at $140,000 in the US, is now being assembled at a rate of over 20 per day – compared to the i3 which is at >100 per day. Since the launch in 2014 and by the end of last year, more than 10,000 units had been delivered.
Now BMW is ready for a refresh and it released a preview of the vehicle with a partly camouflaged prototype:
While the company has yet to confirm any spec for the new version of the vehicle, it is expected to feature an updated powertrain – likely with a new battery pack leveraging the recent upgrades made in the all-electric BMW i3.
There have been some rumors of BMW bringing an all-electric powertrain to the i8, but it is unconfirmed.
The vehicle was first presented as a performance electric vehicle, but it was in many ways outshined by Tesla’s Model S even though the latter is a much bigger family sedan.
It will be interesting to see if BMW can manage to match some of the performance with this new version of the car.
Here’s a video preview that they released today:
BMW also has a series of new all-electric vehicles that should follow the BMW i8 Roadster. The first fully electric MINI is planned for 2019, a fully electric BMW X3 will follow in 2020, and the upcoming “fully electric BMW iNEXT” is scheduled to be released in 2021.
An all-electric version of the BMW 3 Series has also been rumored to be in the work in order to compete with Tesla’s Model 3, but the company is not confirming it.