BMW recently bid adieu to the i3 after making 250,000 units of the quirky hatchback in eight years. The alphanumeric designation lives on in China for a long-wheelbase 3 Series Saloon EV while Europe and other regions are getting the iX1, but neither is a direct replacement for the oddball city car. It looks as though a true entry-level EV from the Bavarian brand won't go on sale anytime soon, at least according to a well-known company insider.
Bimmer Post forum member ynguldyn believes not one but two affordable electric BMWs are earmarked for the second half of the decade, and both are going to be manufactured at home in Germany. Leading the way will be an i1, which apparently already carries the "NB0" codename and will hit the assembly line in November 2027. The BMW i2 ("NB8") will follow suit in July 2028, with both to remain in production until around 2035.
Photos, IAA 2021, BMW i Vision Circular
The EV duo will ride on the Neue Klasse platform and will serve as electric equivalents of the 1 Series and 2 Series. This architecture is being engineered to offer a front-wheel-drive configuration alongside RWD and AWD setups since it'll be implemented across the range. The BMW i1 could take the shape of a hatchback or a saloon since the iX1 name has already been assigned to a crossover. Speaking of which, a second-generation iX1 on the NE architecture is believed to enter production in July 2027.
The BMW i2 is a bit more puzzling since it could take one of the following forms: 2 Series Coupe, 2 Series Gran Coupe, or 2 Series Active Tourer – all with an electric powertrain, of course. Regardless, it'll be a while before these cars will be out as the company is focused on launching the Neue Klasse in 2025 with models in the 3 Series Saloon and X3 segment.
Even though NE will halve production costs, smaller and therefore cheaper electric vehicles won't be as profitable for BMW as an i3 Saloon or an iX3, let alone the rumoured iX7. These future EVs will make use of the firm's sixth-generation battery tech, switching from a prismatic to a cylindrical shape. An increase of 30 percent in range and charging speed has already been promised, along with a 60-percent cut in the emissions generated during manufacturing.
As a final note, a recent report from the same source speculated an iX4 is planned, but not a next-generation X4 with combustion engines.