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BMW said to favor all-electric for next-gen i8 sports car

BMW is leaning toward making its next-generation i8 sports car an all-electric model, according to a new report.

The carmaker is in the midst of making a decision on the direction it will take with its next i8, and higher-ups “are now said to be favoring a pure-electric model,” Autocar reports.

While it’s been believed that BMW would keep the i8 as a plug-in hybrid moving forward, Autocar writes about “the development of an alternative plan under which the next i8 would adopt a newly developed pure-electric drivetrain.”

That plan would involve a “new high-torque pure-electric driveline,” which would position the i8 to compete with cars like the Tesla Roadster. There aren’t many details about this new driveline, but it may share “key elements” with the BMW iNext all-electric crossover.

BMW is also said to be developing a new electric motor. Prototype versions of that motor have reportedly been tested in i8 mules. Interestingly, Autocar notes that “the new motor has been conceived to provide future BMWs with the high-revving characteristics of the company’s combustion-engined cars.”

BMW may also consider changing the car’s platform to something more resembling what the iNEXT will use.

Further adding to the ambiguity of BMW’s looming decision on the sports car, Autocar reports the i8 could go completely in the other direction:

BMW’s head of development also indicated the new i8 could receive a four- or six-cylinder combustion engine in place of the three-cylinder petrol unit in use today: “Then it will be very soon in the 600bhp-or-something region and it will not have a weight of two tonnes.”

BMW is expected to finalize its decision later this year as the company plans to introduce the new i8 by 2023.

Electrek’s Take

There are still a lot of unknowns here, and based on this report, BMW is still considering many options when it comes to the direction of the i8. While we wouldn’t jump to conclusions just yet, there are some positive signs.

But considering the length of the timeline — the car won’t be introduced for another four years — we wonder why BMW wouldn’t make it all-electric. Going in any other direction wouldn’t make much sense.

As we stressed in our review of the BMW i8 Roadster, we couldn’t stop thinking about how great the i8 would be as an all-electric car. It seems like a natural fit to us, and we’d really like BMW to go down that path.

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