BMW is taking a bigger leap than before into electrification with the next 7 Series flagship, BMW Blog has reported. The large sedan is set to offer a fully electric version for its next lifecycle, possibly called the i7.
Like the BMW i4 that is slated for launch in 2021, the forthcoming fully-electric 7 Series will feature different battery capacities, and could start from a base pack with 80 kWh, like the i4. This could go higher than the 120 kWh which currently tops the range of i4 battery packs, which is set to give the i4 approximately 700 km in battery range; a larger battery pack for the heavier i7 could yield a similar range.
Also being developed in the same vein is the BMW iNEXT, an all-electric SUV that will also share its powertrain with the i4 and by association, the EV version of the next 7 Series. The forthcoming electric SUV will drive all four wheels, while offering up to Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities. Given the shared architecture between these models, the ‘i7’ stands to benefit from these technologies as well.
The BMW Power BEV experimental vehicle
“With the fifth generation of eDrive, our vehicles will be able to drive 550 to 700 kilometers on electric power, depending on the model,” BMW Blog quoted former BMW CEO Harald Krueger as saying. The forthcoming electric flagship sedan could also make up to 650 hp in top form, the website reported.
As a sign of what’s possible, the German manufacturer unveiled the Power BEV experimental car last month, which packed three electric drive units within a G30 5 Series bodyshell for a combined total output of more than 710 hp, good for a 0-100 km/h time of less than three seconds.
The next-generation 7 Series is itself slated for market introduction sometime between late 2021 and early 2022; the G11/G12 7 Series LCI (facelift, in BMW terminology) saw its global debut in January. Rival Mercedes-Benz is readying its own all-electric flagship, the EQS, which has already been spotted running road tests.