On Sunday, the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag ran a story claiming BMW will revamp its flagship i3 electric vehicle next year.
The outlet gave only a few specs details but offered no information on neither price nor release date beyond saying it will launch in 2017.
The news of the next-gen i3 comes as the automotive industry shifts to renewable energy standards across the world. In Germany, BMW competitors Mercedes and Volkswagen have also announced upcoming releases of electric models.
The 2017 i3 reports contradict previous estimates that placed a new iteration of the car as far as 2020. The move to overhaul the i3 responds to increasing concerns after seeing the sales of the electric vehicle go stagnant in recent months.
2017 BMW i3: Rumored specs
The most distinctive feature of the new i3 will be its extended range. BMW will ramp up the performance specs of the car with a new battery that brings it up to 300 km and beyond on a single charge.
In contrast, the latest 2016 i3 model manages to reach the 180-mile (roughly 300 km) mark thanks to the combined efforts of a 94 Ah battery and a gas-powered Range Extender engine.
Welt am Sonntag said BMW plans to launch the next i3 with an endurance increase below 50 percent compared to the 2016 model. The upgrade would mean the electric car could reach a range of 240 miles, approximately.
Design and features
More power is not the only thing coming with the next-gen i3 in 2017. The German automaker also wants to redesign the front and the rear of the vehicle for its upcoming iteration.
The current i3 models all come with a brand new design that differs significantly from the standard non-electric cars by BMW. The ‘i’ lineup looks and feels like a premium take on hybrid and electric.
BMW’s i3 sports a compact hatchback body with a rather ‘eco’ style. The car is two-colored to represent its hybrid nature, which also translates to the design lines in the front and particularly in the back.
A new build of the i3 could bring the much-needed extra space to put handles on the back doors of the car. The BMW electric is technically a 5-door vehicle, but passengers in the back can only get out if the front doors are open.
Furthermore, the German newspaper interviewed Klaus Frölich of BMW’s autonomous driving division. The executive said the company was trying to establish an industry-wide standard for self-driving equipment and technology in cars.
The 2017 BMW i3 could also bring enhanced autonomous features, improving beyond the already impressive self-parking function on the current models.
The next version launches next year at an unknown price. For reference, the BMW i3 with Range Extender costs nearly $48,000, and it saw an estimated $1,500 jump from the previous base model.