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.
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.