But BMW admitted it has no idea how popular its EVs will be in the future.
As the technology evolves, automakers are starting to make some bold sales predictions for their upcoming EVs. Volvo, for example, wants fully electric cars to make up half the company's sales, and now BMW has similar ambitions. The Bavarian automaker has big plans for electrification and will be rapidly expanding its EV line-up in the next few years. By 2025, BMW is aiming to launch 25 EV and hybrid models, but the automaker admitted it's difficult to predict how popular they will be with the mass market.
"We assume that, by the year 2025, something between 15 and 25 percent of the cars we make will have electric drivetrains," BMW's board member for production Oliver Zipse said in an interview with Car and Driver. However, he admitted this is simply a guess as "it could be 40 percent or it could be only 10 percent." This uncertainty around EVs explains why BMW is relying on its flexible "Fifth Generation" architecture. While many companies are developing bespoke platforms for electric vehicles, BMW's Gen 5 platform will be used with conventional, hybrid and electric powertrains.
According to the report, there will be two versions of this platform: one will be for front-wheel drive models, while the other will be for rear-wheel drive vehicles. Both versions of the platform will accommodate an all-wheel drive system, however. This means all future BMW models will ride on a platform designed to accommodate a battery pack underneath the floor, even though most models won't utilize this space as conventional powertrains are expected to remain popular. This could be problematic, as Car and Driver says future BMWs will be taller to accommodate the additional battery space.
The first model to ride on the new platform will be the flagship iNext SUV, which is due to arrive in 2021 to take on the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron. Other models will follow with electric variants that use 60 kWh, 90 kWh or 120 kWh battery packs. The latter battery pack is expected to have a range of around 435 miles. An all-electric version of the X3, called the iX3, will also be built in China and exported to other markets. Showcased in Beijing, the iX3 concept features a 70 kWh battery pack providing a range of 249 miles.