BMW is working hard to introduce as many electrified vehicles as possible under its ‘i’ family of cars. Even though only two vehicles (the i3 and the i8) have made it to market, BMW’s not giving up on the i9.
Since 2010, BMW seems to have known that it would use the i series for its electrified vehicles and started trademarking names under the i banner. Back in 2014, though, reports surfaced that BMW had approved a production i9 for its 2016 centenary. As 2016 came and went, though, hope for an i9 started vanishing, until in January of 2018, report emerged that the i9 was dead and that a roomier i7 would be coming out instead.
It seems now, though, that there’s renewed hope for an i9 as BMW has reapplied to hang on to the i9 trademark.
Back in 2014, the i9 was supposed to be a low slung sports sedan that looked a lot like the i8 (although that was largely speculation). Since then, BMW released the iNext concept car. Although the speculation has been that it would bear the i5 nameplate, a sedan version of BMW’s electrified coupe, the i8, would line up nicely with its gas-powered counterparts’ naming convention.
It could also simply be, though, that BMW doesn’t want to risk a patent troll scooping up the name after it showed interest in it. First officially confirmed in the US in 2012, BMW’s trademark was only good until July 31, 2018 (without a product to actually apply it to). Since BMW applied for the new trademark on that date, this move was almost certainly precipitated by trademark timing.
BMW also holds the rights to the i4 and i5 names in the US, so this is anything but confirmation. Still, though, the move is at least a confirmation that BMW hasn’t give up entirely on an i9.
Whatever comes of the iNext concept (be it i5 or i9), BMW has promised that it will be available in 2021. These will be based on BMW’s KLAR platform (which is under the 8 Series and the X7, too) and will be the first of many electrified vehicles as the automaker makes good on its promise to launch 25 electrified models (12 of which will be EVs) by 2025.
A version of this story originally appeared on Bimmerfest.