With the electric car marketplace expected to be a growing niche in the coming years, there have been months of rumors suggesting that BMW would release an i5 electric vehicle. However, a recent report from Automobile suggests that a different model will ultimately be unveiled by the legendary German car manufacturer, with BMW eyeing an i6 release.
BMW i6 in Tesla fight
This new vehicle from BMW is expected to be similar to the existing 3 Series sedan. Should this be the case, it would naturally place the BMW i6 in competition, and the same classification of vehicle, as the Tesla Model S. It seems quite transparently the case that BMW is attempting to tap into the fertile niche that Tesla has created with its electric vehicles over the last couple of years.
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However, the BMW i6 will not emerge for quite some time. According to early reports on this car, we can expect to see the BMW i6 at some point in 2020. It is suggested that the summer of 2020, could be a likely release date for the vehicle, but considering that there is nearly five years until this point, it wouldn’t be hugely surprising if the date was pushed back. This is something that Tesla has frequently experiened.
Early news on the BMW i6 suggests that the vehicle will be built on a new “flat-floor” component set made specifically for electric cars. In addition, BMW is expected to rely on lightweight construction and materials while developing the project, which suggests that carbon fiber and aluminum will be essential to its production.
The report also suggest that the drivetrain in the BMW i6 will feature between two and four electric motors, while there will also be a brand new lithium-polymer battery pack included. This new battery technology is considered to be particularly important, as it has been suggested that it is approximately half as cheap to build as existing batteries, yet delivers three times the energy capacity. This is obviously extremely impressive, and would enable BMW to produce an i6 vehicle that really impressed punters.
Automobile Magazine also reports that the BMW i6 will be extremely similar in nature to the existing 3 Series. This suggests that both the performance and appearance of the vehicle will resemble the 3 Series model. The BMW i6 is expected to ride on a brand new platform that has been specifically developed within the German manufacturer in order to house electric vehicles. With carbon fiber and other lightweight materials offsetting the mass of the planned battery pack, the power-to-weight ratio of this vehicle should be encouragingly high. Using carbon fiber will also help BMW tap into the benefits of economies of scale.
It is also reported that BMW will produce several different models of the i6 vehicle. Appealing to as many consumers as possible will be important in this relatively embryonic electrical niche, and the German manufacturers certainly seems to have considered this component of the i6. According to reports, entry-level models of the BMW i6 will utilize a two-motor drivetrain, with more expensive variants benefiting from 84-motor setup. Different battery sizes may also be offered in an attempt to offer consumers customization.
Nonetheless, all versions of the i6, regardless of any price or power options, are still expected to utilize the lithium-polymer battery pack. This is likely to be promoted as a major selling point of the vehicle, with BMW hoping that its technology will give the vehicle a significant lead over existing electric car manufacturers.
It is suggested that the the BMW will unveil the i6 in 2019 ahead of its ultimate global release in the following year. In addition to the existing Tesla Model 3, it will also be natural for the BMW i6 to be pitted against the forthcoming Model 3. This entry-level sedan from Tesla is expected to make its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show next year, with Tesla already dominant in the electric car marketplace.
BMW will release the i6 into an increasingly demanding auto marketplace. The share price of the company has dipped somewhat during 2015:
…and clearly the German manufacturer is already thinking to the future as it considers the best way to retain its market position. There is no doubt that electric cars will become increasingly important in the next few years, and it can certainly be argued that the recent global political agreement over climate change will contribute significantly to this process.
Apple Car rival
Not only will BMW be competing with the existing Tesla, the most obvious rival for the i6 vehicle will be the forthcoming Apple Car. Although Apple has yet to confirm the existence of this electric vehicle, and indeed will not do so for several years in all probability, leaks from close to the consumer electronics giants have indicated that it is already very much in the company’s thinking. As car consumers become increasingly concerned with environmentally friendly vehicles, it seems that BMW is aiming to claim a significant portion of this marketplace early in the next decade.
The fate of other German car manufacturers must have had some influence over the position of BMW. The dramatic fall from grace of Volkswagen is surely impacting the German car marketplace profoundly, while Audi has also indicated its intention to release electric vehicles in the future. Germany is known for its very green-centric electricity policy, and it seems likely that German consumers will fasten on to the trend of electric vehicles more enthusiastically than most.
With BMW attempting to mark itself out as a major player in the electric car market, another signal of its intention this week has been the slashing in price of the BMW i3 in Colorado. Drive Electric Northern Colorado are offering in the vehicle brand new for under $25,000, showing that electric cars will increasingly become mainstream vehicles.
The BMW i6 promises to play a significant role in this process, alongside other electric vehicle releases, in the early years of the next decade.