BMW greenlights entry level i1, i2 EVs

    BMW i1 and i2 EVs will utilise the Neue Klasse platform; to be revealed by 2027-2028.

    Published On Jun 23, 2024 08:30:00 AM

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    BMW greenlights entry level i1, i2 EVs

    BMW 1 Series used for representational purposes.

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    BMW has greenlit the development of entry-level electric models, the i1 and i2, according to sources close to the company. The models are already in development at the company’s FIZ R&D centre in Munich, and will be sold alongside updated versions of today’s combustion-powered 1 Series and 2 Series.

    BMW i1, i2 EV positioning

    The intention is to provide prospective customers with more affordable alternatives in BMW’s electric car line-up, which currently starts at GBP 46,205 (Rs 49 lakh) with the iX1; the electric SUV costs Rs 66.9 lakh in India. The new i1 is expected to be sold as either a hatchback or a saloon, while the i2 will be a compact crossover with the option of a coupe bodystyle. 

    BMW product boss Bernd Körber told our sister publication Autocar UK recently that the brand wants to grow in all markets and “connect with the younger generation”, and having entry-level models like the 1 Series and 2 Series is essential to do that.

    Körber added: “Of course they have lower profitability, but they also fulfil a different purpose in getting younger customers and developing [BMW] in certain markets. So yes, they are still part of our strategy and it’s good that we have two brands in the segment, with Mini playing a big role.”

    BMW remains committed to the 1 Series and its derivatives and sees its future operating in all major segments – a stark contrast to rival Mercedes-Benz, which will retire the A-Class for good in 2026. Körber agreed with the notion that the A-Class bowing out presented an opportunity for BMW to grow market share with the 1 Series.

    BMW i1, i2 EV platform

    As previewed by the Neue Klasse saloon and Neue Klasse X concepts, the new structure supports an 800V electric architecture designed to accommodate single-, dual- and quad-motor electric drivetrains. Our BMW sources confirm there are two distinct variants of the Neue Klasse platform: the NBx, denoting front- and four-wheel drive; and NAx, for rear- and four-wheel drive.

    While Neue Klasse includes an all-new bespoke electric architecture, it also encompasses next-generation software and connectivity functionality that will be rolled out across all future BMW models regardless of their underpinnings, said Körber.

    It also refers to a new styling theme that will be applied to all future BMW models and the electric cars will not be differentiated; similar to the 4 Series and 5 Series sharing the same basic look as the i4 and i5.

    BMW i1, i2 EV launch timeline 

    The company plans to launch the electric i1 in 2027, with the more sporty i2 set to follow in 2028. But while the updated 1 Series and 2 Series remain on the existing FAAR platform, the two new compact EVs have been conceived around the new dedicated Neue Klasse electric car architecture.

    Also see: 

    BMW Cars

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