BMW electric-car plans two years ahead of schedule

Electrification of BMW’s line-up brought forward by two years as company revises previous target

BMW i3

BMW’s plan to launch 25 electrified models is two years ahead of schedule and will now be completed by 2023, the company has announced.

Thanks to its use of “flexible vehicle architectures” for electric and plug-in hybrid cars, the firm now expects to hit its electrification target much earlier than planned.

It has also been helped by a rise in its electric-car sales, which it expects to continue at a rate of 30% a year. The company believes sales of its electrified models will double by 2021.

More than half of the 25 new vehicles in the pipeline will be fully electric: these include the BMW iNEXT SUV, the iX3 and the i4 four-door coupe. Elsewhere, BMW Group brand MINI is on course to deliver the MINI Electric hatchback in 2020.

BMW has also reaffirmed its commitment to future performance vehicles, with the freshly revealed Vision M NEXT concept previewing the next generation of the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car.

Several new plug-in hybrid models are set to arrive in the near future, while a recently announced deal with Jaguar Land Rover will see the German brand exchange its mass-production strengths for JLR’s electric know-how.

Meanwhile, BMW has also confirmed that ‘eDrive Zones’ will become a standard feature on its plug-in hybrid models from next year.

The technology uses geo-fencing to detect low-emission zones – such as the London ULEZ – before automatically switching to fully-electric mode without drivers needing to do anything.

The company says that its cars should therefore receive the same access rights as fully electric or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, as its plug-in hybrid cars will also emit no CO2, provided there's sufficient charge left in a given vehicle’s battery.

The first real-world test for this technology is the ‘Electric City Drive’ project, taking place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.