BMW has applied for trademarks for a series of model names in a bid to expand its i all-electric sub-brand and the recently formed iPerformance sub-brand.
The trademarked names are iX1, iX2, iX3, iX4, iX5, iX6, iX7, iX8 and iX9. The naming convention follows the manufacturer’s current nomenclature, indicating that the models will all be SUV electric-powered SUVs.
With rivals like Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz already having said that they would offer more than one electric-powered SUV models in the longer term, BMW appears set to join them.
It is as yet unconfirmed whether the new electric SUVs will be based on the existing models or whether they will be dedicated models in their own right with individual styling and packaging.
Till date, BMW only had plans for a single electric SUV – chairman Harald Krüger had revealed in 2016 that the a new zero-emissions model based on the X3 would arrive to compete with the upcoming Audi E-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Mercedes-Benz EQ C.
Recent technical developments as detailed by BMW R&D boss Klaus Fröhlich just before the 2017 Frankfurt motor show suggested that BMW is already well on its way to developing more electric SUVs. Fröhlich had confirmed the existence of two new platforms based on the brand’s existing front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive architectures for the i brand.
The rear-wheel-drive one is based on the existing CLAR structure, which underpins the current 5-series and 7-series. The BMW i Vision Dynamics concept showcased at the Frankfurt show shares these underpinnings and is capable of supporting four-wheel-drive as well.
The German marque has always been keen to earmark possible future names for its cars, having trademarked the names i1, i2, i3, i4, i5, i6, i7, i8 and i9 in 2010, about three years before the i3 and i8 production models were showcased.
BMW has also trademarked the names E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E6, E7, E8 and E9.