The BMW i is a sub-brand of BMW founded in 2011 to design and manufacture plug-in electric vehicles. The companys initial plans call for the release of two vehicles; the i3 all-electric car and the i8 plug-in hybrid. Concept versions of both these vehicles were shown at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.
Series production of the BMW i3 destined for retail customers began in September 2013, and the European market launch took place in November 2013 with the first retail deliveries in Germany. The BMW i8 was launched in Germany in June 2014. The United States, Norway, Germany, and the UK are the main markets for both models.
In February 2016, BMW announced the introduction of the "iPerformance" model designation, which is being given to all BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles from July 2016. The aim is to provide a visible indicator of the transfer of technology from BMW i to the BMW core brand. As of November 2016, four BMW electrified models have been released using BMW i technology, the BMW X5 xDrive40e, released in 2015, and the BMW 225xe Active Tourer, BMW 330e iPerformance, and BMW 740e iPerformance, released in 2016. At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show BMW presented an electric SUV i Hydrogen Next which uses a fuel cell. Since 2015 BMW tests this technology in a road test fleet of 5 series GT.
BMW i sales reached the 50.000 unit mark in January 2016. and the 50.000th i3 was delivered in July 2016. Two years after its introduction, the BMW i3 became the worlds all-time third best selling all-electric car, and remained as such as of December 2016. Combined global sales of BMW i and iPerformance plug-in hybrid models achieved the 100.000 unit milestone in early November 2016, and 300.000 units in September 2018, including MINI brand electrified vehicles.
1.1. History Project i
BMWs "Project i" is a program created to develop lightweight eco-friendly urban electric car concepts designed to address the mobility and sustainability needs for people who live in megacities. According to BMW, "Project i" has three phases. The Mini E demonstration was the first phase of this project, and it was followed by a similar field testing that began in January 2012 with the BMW ActiveE all-electric vehicle. The ActiveE was based on the BMW 1 Series Coupe and built considering the lessons learned from the Mini E trial. The last phase of "Project i" was the development of the i3 and i8 electric cars.
The automaker expected that its first series production all-electric drive vehicle would help it achieve an overall fleet fuel economy average of 6.63 L/100 km 35.5 mpg by 2016, as mandated by U.S. federal regulations. BMW expected high volume sales of the i3 to allow the company to continue selling several of its high-performance cars with low fuel economy in the U.S.
In February 2011, BMW announced a new sub-brand, BMW i, to market the vehicles produced under Project i. BMW i vehicles are to be sold separately from BMW or Mini. The first two production models are the BEV battery electric Mega City Vehicle, now called BMW i3, and a plug-in hybrid called BMW i8, which is the production version of the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and has an all-electric range of 50 kilometres 31 mi. Production of both plug-in electric cars was scheduled to start in Leipzig in 2013.
Global i3 sales passed the 25.000 unit milestone in May 2015. Combined global sales of the BMW i brand models passed the 30.000 mark in June 2015, and the 50.000 unit milestone in January 2016. Global sales of the BMW i3 achieved the 50.000 unit milestone in July 2016.
As of December 2016, BMW expects a stable development in the plug-in electric market with low profits the next 5-7 years, until batteries have doubled their capacity, with the goal to expand the share of its electrified models to between 15% and 25% of sales by 2025. Currently in development is the BMW iX3 for 2020, while the BMW i4 and the self-driving iNext are scheduled for production in 2021. In 2019, BMW contracted Contemporary Amperex Technology and Samsung SDI to deliver lithium-ion cells for $10 billion over a decade, and BMW intends to supply them with cobalt and lithium to increase transparency. BMW have announced 25 planned future electrified models with over half to be fully electric by 2023, two years earlier than planned. It will mostly be made up of electrified versions of the regular line-up, including the 1 Series i1, 5 Series i5, 7 Series i7 and X1 iX1.
1.2. History Stores
The first BMW i store opened in June 2012 at BMWs London Park Lane showroom. The carmaker premiered an updated version of the BMW i3 concept electric car and unveiled its i Pedelec electric bicycle concept. On November 15, 2013, retail deliveries for the i3 began with a special ceremony in Munich.
1.3. History Using eDrive in core-brand BMW models
On 1 December 2014, BMW announced the group is planning to offer plug-in hybrid versions of all its core-brand models using eDrive technology developed for its BMW i brand plug-in vehicles. The goal of the company is to use plug-in technology to continue offering high performance vehicles while reducing CO 2 emissions below 100g/km. In February 2016, BMW announced the introduction of the "iPerformance" model designation, which will be given to all BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles from July 2016. The aim is to provide a visible indicator of the transfer of technology from BMW i to the BMW core brand.
Sales of BMW i and iPerformance designated plug-in hybrid drive models have grown strongly in Europe, accounting for 4% of all BMW vehicles sold in Western Europe in June 2016. The percentage is significantly higher in markets with strong incentives and infrastructural measures, such as Netherlands, with 14.9% of all BMW vehicles sold in June were BMW i or BMW iPerformance models, and Scandinavia with 13.2%. Combined global sales of BMW i or BMW iPerformance models totaled 23.675 units during the first half of 2016. This is the result of the expanded range of electrified models, which includes seven electrified models including plug-in hybrids. Sales of this type of vehicle during the first half of 2016 were just under 87% higher than the same period in 2015. Combined global sales of BMW i and iPerformance plug-in hybrid models achieved the 100.000 unit milestone in early November 2016, three years after the inception of the BMW i3.
As of February 2018, only two BMW i models are offered, the BMW i3 all-electric car with optional range-extender REx, and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid. As of May 2016, BMW i was present in 50 countries, with both the i3 and i8 plug-in vehicles. In November 2016, BMW announced the company expected to deliver 60.000 of its electrified i and iPerformance models in 2016, and set a sales target of 100.000 units for 2017. BMW set the goal to expand the share of its electrified models to between 15% and 25% of sales by 2025. As of December 2016, the i3 ranked as the worlds third best selling all-electric car in history, including REx variant sales, after the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S.
The demand for BMW i and iPerformance vehicles increased significantly during the first half of 2016. In June 2016, 4% of all BMW sales in Western Europe were electrified cars, and again in July 2016, the electrified models captured 4% of all BMW sales in the region. In the Netherlands, 43% of BMW 3 Series registrations in July 2016 corresponded to the plug-in hybrid BMW 330e iPerformance model, and 26% of BMW 2 Series Active Tourer registrations were for the BMW 225xe. Those figures were higher in Scandinavia, with the plug-in hybrid versions accounting for 45% of all BMW 3 Series sales, and 55% of all BMW 2 Series Active Tourer sales. In November 2016, more than one third of total BMWs sales in the Dutch market were electrified models. Sales of BMW plug-in hybrid and i3 electric cars in China totaled 1.796 units during the first nine months of 2016. In July 2016, the i3 achieved a 7.5% share of all BMW passenger car sales in the American market. Accounting for all BMW plug-ins i3, i8, X5 xDrive40e and 330e sold in July 2016 2.375 units, BMW also achieved a 9.2% share of the brands total passenger and light trucks sales.
Global sales of all plug-in electrified models achieved the 100.000 unit milestone in early November 2016, consisting of more than 60.000 i3s, over 10.000 i8s, and about 30.000 from combined sales of all BMW iPerformance plug-in hybrid models. Combined global sales of BMWs electrified models totaled more than 62.000 units in 2016, and 103.080 in 2017, including MINI brand electrified vehicles. Global sales of BMW Groups electrified vehicles passed the 250.000 unit milestone in April 2018, and the 300.000 mark in September 2018. A total of 142.617 electrified vehicles were delivered worldwide in 2018. Cumulative sales since inception of the BMW i3 totaled more than 356.000 BMW and MINI electrified vehicles.
2.1. Products Design and technology
The BMW i3 is an electric car, BMWs first zero emissions mass-produced vehicle. The i3 is the first volume production vehicle on the market featuring carbon-fiber reinforced plastic. This vehicle gets its power from an electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries. The i3 is built for everyday use, with an all-electric range of 130 to 160 km 81 to 99 mi. BMW is offering a range extender "REx" option powered by a 647 cc two-cylinder gasoline engine with a 9 L 2.0 imp gal; 2.4 US gal fuel tank that engages when the battery level drops to a pre-specified point, acting purely as a generator to produce electricity to extend the range to about 240 to 300 km 150 to 190 mi.
According to BMW, at the beginning of the i3 release, the use of range-extender was much more than the carmaker expected, more than 60%. Over time it has decreased significantly, with some people almost never using it, and by early 2016 it is being regularly used in fewer than 5% of i3s.
In May 2016, BMW announced that the 2017 model year MY BMW i3 will come with an improved battery pack with 50% more capacity 33 kWh than the previous model with a corresponding range increase expected to achieve 114 mi 183 km under the EPA cycle, and 195 mi 314 km under the New European Driving Cycle. The Range Extender REx variant features the same higher capacity battery as the all-electric model, with a corresponding all-electric range increase. Deliveries of the 2017 MY i3 in the U.S. market began in the third quarter of 2016. Both variants with the improved battery are available in the UK starting in July 2016.
2.2. Products Markets and sales
The first i3 deliveries to retail customers in Europe took place at the official market launch ceremony held in Munich on 15 November 2013. The i3 was also launched in the UK in November 2013. The release in the American market took place in May 2014. As of November 2015, the core phase of the market introduction of the i3 was finished, with only some smaller markets are still to follow. As of May 2016, the i3 was available in 50 countries.
The i3 ranked third among all-electric cars sold worldwide in 2014. BMW i3 sales grew from 16.052 units in 2014 to 24.057 in 2015, allowing the i3 to rank for the second year in a row as the worlds third best selling all-electric car. Also in 2015 the i3 ranked fifth among the worlds top selling plug-in electric cars. About 25.500 units were delivered worldwide in 2016, up 6% from 2015, allowing the BMW i3 to rank in 2016 for the third year running as the worlds third best-selling all-electric car. In 2016 the i3 also ranked as the fifth top selling plug-in electric car. Global sales totaled 31.482 i3s in 2017. All sales figures include the REx variant.
Since its introduction, global cumulative sales totaled about 65.500 units through December 2016, making the i3 the worlds all-time third best-selling all-electric car after the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S. These figure includes REx sales. As of November 2016, the i3 continued as the top selling BMW electrified model, and accounted for 60% of combined BMW i and BMW iPerformance models. As of December 2017, the United States listed as the i3 top selling country market with 31.017 units, followed by Norway with 13.483 new units registered, and Germany with 12.245 units. Norway has the worlds largest i3 market penetration per capita due to its population size, The BMW i3 ranked as the top selling new passenger car model in Norway in November 2016, capturing a market share of 7.7% of total new car sales.
2.3. Products BMW i8
The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid is the production version of the BMW Vision Efficient Dynamics concept unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and has an all-electric range of 35 kilometres 22 mi. Production of both plug-in electric cars is scheduled to start in Leipzig in 2013. Powering the front wheels will be an electric motor 131 hp, while the rear wheels will make use of a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder gasoline engine 231 hp. Zero to 60 mph sprint timings are estimated to be less than 4.5 seconds using both power sources. The positioning of the motor and engine over the axles also makes it benefit from a 50/50 weight distribution.
The production version of the i8 was unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. BMW plans to sell the i8 in about 50 countries, with the U.S. expected to be the largest sales market. In Europe, the UK, Germany and France are expected to be the top markets. Retail deliveries began in Germany in June 2014. Deliveries to retail customers in the U.S. started in August 2014.
As of December 2015, global sales totaled 7.197 i8s, of which, 1.741 units were sold in 2014, and 5.456 in 2015. In 2015 global sales of the BMW i8 exceeded the combined figure of all other hybrid sports cars produced by other manufacturers. The United States is the leading market with 4.108 units delivered through October 2016, followed by the UK with about 1.700 sold through October 2016, and Germany with 986 i8s registered through September 2016. Since mid-2014 more than 10.000 BMW i8s have been sold worldwide by early November 2016, making the i8 the worlds top selling plug-in electrified sports cars.
The BMW i8 Roadster concept was unveiled at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show. In October 2016, BMW announced that the roadster variant would be added to the BMW i lineup in 2018. The i8 roadster is expected to get a longer-range battery.
2.4. Products Life-Drive
Both the i3 and i8 will benefit from BMWs Life-Drive platform which makes use of light-weight materials. Both cars will come with an aluminum chassis, and in the case of the i8, the windshield, top, doors and fenders are made from polycarbonate glass, with the body having a drag coefficient of 0.26.
2.5. Products EPA ratings
The following are the BMW i3 both 60 and 94 ampere-hour per hour batteries and i8 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA ratings for all-electric range and fuel economy.
3. BMW iPerformance
Launched in Europe and the U.S. in 2015, the BMW X5 xDrive40e is the first plug-in hybrid released under the core BMW brand. The use of BMWs eDrive technology on the established X5 platform is a direct technology transfer from the BMW i cars, in particular, from the BMW i8 technology.
In February 2016, BMW announced the introduction of the "iPerformance" model designation, which was given to all BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles from July 2016. The aim is to provide a visible indicator of the transfer of technology from BMW i to the BMW core brand. The first BMW car launched to the market with the "iPerformance" model designation was the BMW 330e iPerformance, initially named the 330e. Deliveries in the American market began in the second quarter of 2016. The new designation was also used on the plug-in hybrid variants of the new BMW 7 Series, the BMW 740e iPerformance. The iPerformance models have a BMW i logo on the front side panel, BMW i-style blue elements in the kidney grille and wheel hubs, and an eDrive logo on the C-pillar.
As of November 2016, four BMW electrified models have been released, the BMW X5 xDrive40e, BMW 225xe Active Tourer, BMW 330e iPerformance, and the BMW 740e iPerformance. The BMW 530e iPerformance is scheduled to be released in Europe March 2017 as part of the upcoming seventh generation BMW 5 Series lineup. The Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid was released in June 2017.