BMW Reveals its Fully-Electric 530 HP Concept i4 Sedan, the First of Many New Electrified Models
【Summary】The fully-electric BMW Concept i4 was unveiled in a “virtual world premier” in Munich on Tuesday. The i4 one of the most anticipated new electric models from any automaker and will be available in 2021.
German automaker BMW has been teasing its Concept i4 electric sedan since last year. The electric sedan was scheduled to make its official debut at the Geneva Auto Show this week.
However, with the recent Coronavirus outbreak the annual auto show was cancelled by the Federal Council of Switzerland as a precautionary measure, leaving automakers no choice but to reveal their new models online, which is what BMW did the new Concept i4 in a live-streamed event from Munich, where the automaker is headquartered.
The fully electric sedan was unveiled in a "virtual world premier", and its one of the most anticipated new electric models from any automaker. Although the i4 unveiled today is still technically a concept, BMW says the car is "very close" to the actual production car and it offers a glimpse into what BMW's future will look like.
The Concept i4 is a futuristic four-door sedan with performance of up to 530 horsepower and an electric range of up to 370 miles (600 kilometers), based on the new WLTP test cycle.
It's powered by BMW's fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology, comprised of an electric motor, high-voltage lithium-ion battery and an intelligent energy management system. In addition, the electric motor in the i4 uses no rare earth materials, reinforcing BMW's commitment to the environment.
"All of this shows we are fully committed to climate protection," said.
The i4 features bold, agressive styling.
All of the development and production of BMW's fifth-generation e-drive was done in-house, as well as the battery cell research. The latest eDrive in the Concept i4 houses a 80 kWh battery pack and its highly configurable for future electric models the automaker plans to offer. The slim battery pack was designed to offer optimum energy density.
The i4 sedan is expected to handle charging rates up to 150 kW, allowing the electric sedan to charge at a rate of roughly 62 miles every six minutes, reaching an 80% charge in about 30 minutes.
One of the most stunning styling features of the i4 is a panoramic glass roof that extends over the rear seats. In addition the panoramic glass roof, The Concept i4 features a modern silhouette with bold lines, with an aggressive front grill and big wheels. A rear diffuser has been added that improves aerodynamics. Overall, the car looks like a modern BMW, except its fully-electric.
"It's hard to believe that there's actually a battery underneath the floor," said Adrain Van Hooydonk, Head of BMW Group Design.
The interior is minimalistic, all of the buttons and controls have been integrated into the wide curved, widescreen digital dash display which surrounds the driver.
"With BMW i, we've pioneered a new type of mobility and created a new and cleaner form language fitting to zero emission mobility," said Van Hooydonk. "The Concept i4 is giving you a very good idea of what you can expect from us in the very near future."
The widescreen digital dash in the Concept i4.
The Concept i4 Includes Vehicle Sounds Composed by Grammy Winning Composer Hans Zimmer
Another cool feature are the i4's custom sounds composed by world renowned composer Hans Zimmer, which BMW says creates an iconic modern soundtrack for the Concept i4. The sounds provide audible feedback when interacting with the car and provides the driver with a soothing audio confirmation for each driver input.
For example, when accelerating the i4 produces a subtle digital synth sound mixed with a orchestral layer, letting the driver know that the i4 is responding to their inputs. These types of sounds are important for an electric car, since the electric powertrain is near silent.
The sounds the Concept i4 makes are reminiscent of a sci-fi movie soundtrack. Zimmer is best known for composing the soundtrack for dozens of Hollywood films, including the 2014 science fiction movie Interstellar.
The Concept i4 is just the beginning of BMW's transition to electrification. The automaker also announced that the new iX3 will be available soon. The iX3 is a fully-electric version of the popular X3 SUV. The vehicle will be built in China for export around the world.
Also coming from BMW is the first plug-in hybrid 3-Series touring wagon, X1 and X2 SUVs. All of these hybrid models will be available by the end of 2020, says Oliver Zispe, Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW.
BMW intends to have 1,000,000 electrified BMW's on the road by the end of 2021.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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