BMW is considering an all-electric i8, and might ditch the current hybrid powertrain setup.
Autocar reports that the German automaker is building a prototype all-electric i8 to see how viable the sports car would be without the current 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine. It is believed that the prototype will feature three electric motors in place of the hybrid system, while a significantly larger battery will ensure it has plenty of range. The new electric powertrain will have one electric motor up front and two in the rear, and it is reported that the new brushless electric motors will be capable of revving much higher than the current units used in the production BMW i8.
There’s also another benefit to the new electric motors, as the units are more compact. The BMW insider said that “revs are the route to making electric motors smaller.”
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Before an all-electric i8 arrives, however, BMW will give the current model a facelift. It was previously reported that the updated BMW i8 will incorporate technology used in the company’s Formula E safety car, which includes a modified air extractor unit featuring an additional Gurney flap along its edge for the front-mounted electric motor. The facelifted BMW i8 also has an updated rear end boasting a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic tailgate with eight individual air vents that replace the current glass window.
Another major change heading to the updated i8 is a new lithium-ion battery borrowed from the BMW X5 xDrive40e. The new battery has a capacity of 26Ah, an increase from the current 20Ah unit used.
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