Electric cars: BMW confirms i5 plugin

The i5 will be an electric car like BMW's smaller i3, and just like the i3 the i5 will offer an internal combustion range-extender as an option. 

  • close
    A BMW i3 electric car and charger is shown at the Electric Power Research Institute's Plug-In 2014 conference in San Jose, Calif. BMW has confirmed an i5, which will be a larger, more practical version of the i3.
    Robert Galbraith/Reuters/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

There’s been speculation brewing for years that the next model spawned from BMW’s i division for eco-focused cars will be a more practical offering, most likely badged an i5. A top BMW executive has finally confirmed that such a vehicle is coming and has provided a few details.

Speaking with Car and Driver, BMW i product chief Henrik Wenders said the i5 will be an electric car like the smaller i3, and just like the i3 the i5 will offer an internal combustion range-extender as an option. This is in contrast to a powerful plug-in hybrid system like the one found in the i8 sports car, which had been rumored at one point.

Wenders explained that a range-extender will still be required for the next several years as battery capacity and charging infrastructure is not at a level to quell range anxiety. He went on to explain that a shorter range is tolerable for a car like the i3, where most owners use it as a second or third car, mostly for short city trips. The i5, on the other hand, will be for families looking for a primary car, so range comparable with gasoline cars is a must.

Wenders didn’t say when we will see the i5, nor did he say what form the i5 will take. We’ve heard everything from a minivan to a sedan to an SUV. It’s currently thought that the i5 will resemble a larger version of the i3 and mix elements of all three rumored bodystyles. What we do know is that it will stick with BMW i's practice of using carbon fiber-reinforced plastic for the body and aluminum for the chassis.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.


We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.