BMW has been one of the pioneers of electric and electrified cars in the modern marketplace. Today, purpose-designed electric cars and hybrids are sold the BMW i brand, while there are plug-in hybrid versions of many cars from the manufacturer’s standard range.
Below, you’ll find details of all the current BMW electric car and hybrid car ranges, along with information on models planned for the future.
BMW electric cars
If you’re looking for a purely electric BMW, the i3 city car has been your sole choice since it launched in 2013. Periodic improvements and upgrades have kept the distinctively styled i3 supermini ahead of its time throughout its lifespan.
Today, the i3 features a 42.2kWh battery, giving 193 miles of range from a single charge, while a 168bhp electric motor propels the car from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds. A sportier i3s model is also available: it has a more powerful, 182bhp electric motor, allowing for 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds.
BMW plug-in hybrid cars
BMW has been making strides with its plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) range. Its flagship PHEV is the i8 sports car but you can also get plug-in versions of conventional models from across the BMW line-up.
The i8 is available in Coupe and Roadster forms, the latest versions produce a combined 369bhp from a 1.5-litre engine and an electric motor, and a full charge of their battery will see you along for 23 miles without using a drop of fuel.
Meanwhile, the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series are all available as plug-in hybrids, with lots more to come. Few carmakers have advanced as far as BMW when it comes to electrification.
Future BMW electric cars and hybrids
With the i3 and the i8 now nearing the end of their lifecycles, the focus is shifting to the next generation of BMW electrified vehicles. So exactly what BMW electric cars are we going to see in the next few years? These are the models that the company has in the pipeline…
The BMW iNEXT (concept pictured above) is an electric SUV that’s set to go on sale in 2021. It'll be the company’s flagship SUV, and rumour has it that more than 373 miles of range is being targeted. Little else is known about the car, although BMW has been testing its four-wheel-drive system in Arctic conditions in Sweden, pointing towards at least two electric motors.
Autonomous driving technology is being worked on, while sharp styling is likely to take its inspiration from the X7. We’ve been given a glimpse inside the iNEXT, too, with the company revealing the car’s steering wheel in July 2019. We’ll discover even more in 2020.
The BMW iX3 will act as a rival for the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron and Mercedes EQC when it arrives in 2020. A battery capacity in excess of 70kWh will deliver competitive range in the region of 249 miles, while 150kW rapid-charging technology will make it a viable long-distance vehicle – for those who can afford it, at least.
BMW is promising an “exceptionally powerful electric motor”, which means straight-line acceleration could be the iX3's unique selling point in a market filling up with quick electric SUVs. On that front, it has the Tesla Model X’s 0-62mph figure of 2.7 seconds to beat.
The BMW i4 is due in 2021: the four-door coupe will use the same platform that underpins the iNEXT, which supports a variety of battery sizes up to a whopping 120kWh. What range the i4 will extract from that is unclear, although the sleeker profile should ensure that it goes further than the iNEXT.
Performance is set to be rapid, with 0-62mph completed in less than four seconds on its way to a top speed of 124mph.