BMW i3 ConceptEnlarge Photo
In March of 2008 BMW first announced plans to establish a new research division called Project i, whose task would be to develop a number of solutions for a vehicle designed for congested city motoring.
The goal of Project i was never to exclusively develop one type of vehicle, but rather a range of technologies that could be introduced across BMW’s regular fleet or even under its newly established i sub-brand.
We’re now less than a year away from the launch of the first two standalone Project i cars, the i3 electric minicar and i8 plug-in hybrid sports car, but what lies beyond that for BMW’s eco-focused brand?
According to an article by Germany’s Autobild, which was first picked up by World Car Fans, the next Project i car will be an “i5” range-extended electric minivan. Essentially a premium and more advanced offering to the Toyota Prius and upcoming Prius Plug-In Hybrid, the i5 is reportedly due for launch around 2015 and would feature the same carbon fiber construction for its body that the i3 and i8 employ.
Power would come from a small electric motor rated at around 170 horsepower driving the rear axle, while a small three-cylinder engine rated at 90 horsepower would act as a range-extender.
Note, this is contrary to previous reports that suggested the i5 would be a sleek four-door coupe though it makes sense considering the popularity of vehicles like the Toyota Prius among the eco-conscious.