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Future for the BMW i3 and i8 Unclear as BMW Introduces New Electric Vehicles

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As BMW prepares to expand its electric lineup with models like the upcoming i4 and iNext, the fate of the i3 and i8 remains in question

 BMW’s original modern-day EVs might actually be on their way out

BMW’s mission to expand its electric lineup is certainly no secret. The automaker seems to be right on track for this goal, delivering more than 100,000 electric vehicles during 2017. By 2021, BMW plans to introduce the i4 and iNext EVs to its lineup. Yet, the introduction of these two EVs leaves the future of the BMW i3 and i8 in question.

BMW recently refreshed the BMW i3 for the 2017 model year. This refresh added features and trims to the i3 lineup, while simultaneously updating its exterior look. Meanwhile, the BMW i8 was also recently updated for the 2019 model year. For the 2019 i8, BMW added a Roadster model to the electric vehicle’s lineup.

Many of BMW’s ambitious concept vehicles are close to becoming a reality

However, officials from BMW informed Automotive News that the future of the i3 and i8 remains uncertain. Stefan Juraschek, head of electric powertrain for BMW AG, explains that the primary purpose of the BMW i3 and i8 was to showcase BMW’s electric technology, rather than be the foundation for an extensive model lineup of electric cars.

“These cars are very unique,” Juraschek said. “These two cars were not [developed] as a family that we can expand in different [ways] or maybe five or 10 derivatives.”

The BMW i4 and iNext, on the other hand, will be built on a next-generation BMW architecture that can accommodate a flexible modular kit, as well as a combination of electric, hybrid, and combustion powertrains. It remains to be seen if the i3 and i8 can be successfully transferred to this upcoming vehicle architecture.

For the moment, the BMW i3 and i8 aren’t going anywhere. As BMW gets closer to achieving its ultimate electric goals, however, these two models might eventually become exclusively relegated to mere entries in BMW’s history of electrification.

News Source: Automotive News (subscription required)