BMW is planning an range-extended electric vehicle to fight Tesla.
Potentially called the i5 or i7, the car will arrive sometime around 2018 and be based on the new long-wheelbase 5 Series that is being built for China. Base pricing will start just below the Model S, though it will span up to about $125,000.
Unlike the i8 (pictured above) which has one e-motor, the i7/i5 will feature two electric motors in the rear and a small gas-powered range extender in the front that will make it possible for the car to be electric front-wheel drive, electric rear-wheel drive or gas-electric all-wheel drive depending on the driver’s needs. Power will sit right around 540 hp, while the car is said to have an electric range of about 80 miles.
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The new 5 Series is being built on BMW’s new Cluster Architecture, a modular platform that will eventually underpin everything from the 3 Series to the 7 Series. This will allow the i7/i5 to use the same suspension, steering and brake components as the 5 Series with a different powertrain altogether.
The 2018 arrival is no coincidence, as 4.5% of all vehicles sold in US CARB states must be zero-emissions by 2018. That number will increase in annual steps up the 22% by 2025. Manufacturers that don’t comply with this will not be able to sell cars in these States, or they will be forced to buy clean-air credits, the largest seller of which is Tesla.
[Source: Car Magazine]
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