2016 BMW X1 sketchEnlarge Photo
BMW is the latest automaker rumored to be working on a rival for Tesla Motors’ [NSDQ:TSLA] upcoming Model X electric SUV. The German automaker is committed to adding more vehicles to its i sub-brand for eco-focused models, which currently includes the i3 electric minicar and i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, and the next one may just end up being a new SUV.
There’s strong demand for high-riding models around the globe and with both Tesla and Audi (in the form of a Q6 e-tron) committed to launching on the market new electric SUVs in the coming years, BMW may want to offer an alternative. And Wirtschaftswoche is reporting just that.
The German publication, citing an anonymous source, reports that BMW wants to develop a battery-powered electric SUV. Such a model, if given the green light, would be produced at BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which has been made the main hub for the automaker’s SUVs.
Going the electric-only route would be in contrast to BMW’s plans for its Power eDrive plug-in hybrid setup, which should start appearing in some of the automaker’s regular models in the near future. However, using a battery-powered drivetrain in the i-badged SUV would serve as a means of differentiating the vehicle from electrified models being added to BMW’s regular fleet like the 2016 X5 xDrive40e plug-in hybrid as well as any Power eDrive models.
BMW has just launched a new generation of its X1 and it has two new SUVs coming to the market: an X2 compact with coupe-like styling and a full-size model to be badged an X7. Perhaps we’ll see a third, i-badged SUV as well.