Henrik Wenders, head of product for BMW i’s sub-brand, revealed some new details on the upcoming i5 in a recent interview with Car and Driver. According to Henrik, the highly rumored (and anticipated, if you ask us) BMW i5 will have a range extender option.
“The range-extender plays an important part in the next years when range remains a limiting factor and a source of anxiety” for electric vehicle owners. Notably, he mentioned that in the future, as battery pack range is comparable to those of gasoline powered vehicles, range extenders will become obsolete. Thus, BMW “will continue to offer the range-extender in the future as optional equipment, to address different customer needs.”
When BMW first released the i3 electric vehicle for sale, more than 60% of buyers opted for the range extender. However, it is mostly a psychological choice since now those buyers are accustomed to driving electric, less than 5% of i3 Rex’s are using their range extender regularly.
Henrik also noted that the BMW i3 is still mainly a ‘second vehicle’ for families. With the upcoming BMW i5, BMW is targeting families who will use it as their primary vehicle. As such, it must be capable of handling most, or even all, of a family’s needs.
Wenders also confirmed that a carbon-fiber structure i5 is the obvious choice. “One of i’s roles is as an enabling brand, to help industrialize new materials and processes. We have already opened the door with the i3, and we will take it from there.”