Although the model will only appear in showrooms in 2 years’ time, BMW is telling the world about the fourth model in its I sub-brand range – the i4. This will be the first purely electrically-powered model for the premium mid-range with the functionality of a 4-door Gran Coupe and emissions-free mobility.
More importantly, BMW promises to transfer the brand’s characteristic core features to the age of electric mobility, particularly the qualities of the 3-Series. Design-wise, it will be based on the i Vision Dynamics concept car (pictured below) shown in 2017 and sit on the CLAR platform.
The development of the i4 is part of a comprehensive product offensive by the BMW Group in the field of models with electrified drive. The company currently has the biggest range of all-electric and plug-in hybrid models within the competitive field. By 2023, the BMW Group will have 25 models with electrified drive in its program.
Fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology
The drive technology of the i4 will set new standards in terms of power density, efficiency and range in locally emissions-free driving. The electric motor, power electronics, charging unit and high-voltage battery are entirely new. Together, they form the BMW eDrive technology of the fifth generation, with which the BMW Group has made further significant advancements in the field of electrified drive.
From 2020 onwards, the fifth- generation BMW eDrive technology will be introduced first in the iX3 and then in the iNEXT and i4. The electric motor developed for the i4 delivers a maximum output of around 390 kW/530 bhp, reaching the level of a V8 engine in current BMW models fitted with a combustion engine. 0 to 100 km/h acceleration is expected to be around 4 seconds, with a top speed of more than 200 km/h.
The fifth generation of BMW eDrive also includes a newly designed high-voltage battery featuring the latest battery cell technology. The design of the high-voltage battery developed for the i4 is characterised by its extremely flat design and optimised energy density. With a weight of some 550 kgs, it has an energy content of around 80 kWh. This gives a claimed range of approximately 600 kms.
Modular, flexible drive and battery storage technology
A flexible vehicle architecture, the flat, low-positioned high-voltage battery and the compact drive technology create a high degree of freedom in realising a model- specific design. The electric drive component, its charging unit and high-voltage battery are all developed and produced in-house by the BMW Group.
This drive system is compatible with all vehicle concepts and will be available for different models in a range of output levels. The highly integrated design of the system allows a significant increase in power density as well as a reduction in weight and manufacturing effort. Production of future-generation electric motors will no longer require materials categorised as rare earths.
The next generation charging unit is characterised by a uniform package suitable for all future vehicle architectures. It can be used in plug-in hybrid models as well as in purely electrically powered vehicles and is designed for a charging capacity of up to 150 kW. This allows the high-voltage battery pack to be charged to around 80% of its full energy content in around 35 minutes. This results in a charging time of around 6 minutes for a range of 100 kms.