BMW is currently working on the next generation of its 7 Series, and it has confirmed that an electric version will be offered. The announcement was made by Oliver Zipse, BMW Group Chief Executive Officer, at the company's annual general meeting in Munich, Germany on Wednesday.
Oliver Zipse said that the next 7 Series will offer gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains. This will be the first time a BMW model comes with such a range of powertrains.
The new 7 Series is expected launch at some point in 2022. As for the electric version, BMW’s usual naming strategy for EV powertrains means we can expect it will be called i7. The new model will be based on the current generation CLAR platform, which is flexible enough to support multiple powertrain types. BMW will give the i7 its fifth-generation electric technology, set to debut next year with the iNext mid-size all-electric SUV.
This technology allows for the use of batteries with a capacity of up to 120 kWh, delivering a range of around 600 km and a total output as high as 720 hp. The design is also modular, meaning that the electric motor, transmission and power control unit are combined in the same housing.
Oliver Zipse reaffirmed BMW's plans to launch 25 electrified models spread across its BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce brands by 2023. Most importantly, more than half of these vehicles will be fully electric. The first has already arrived in the form of the Mini Cooper SE, and next in line is the BMW iX3. The iNext SUV will follow in mid-2021, and beyond that the i4 sedan should debut in late 2021.
The BMW Group expects demand for electrified models to double by 2021. Thereafter, the manufacturer expects growth of more than 30% per year until 2025. The automaker has committed to spending over 30 billion Euros (about $47 billion CAD) by 2025 to support the development of electrified vehicles, even though this means cutting costs elsewhere. No surprise, the development of internal combustion engines is one of the areas where cuts will be made.