Since the inception of the BMW i-brand back in 2012, we’ve only seen two production models wear the special blue BMW badge: the BMW i3 and the BMW i8. The i3, with its choice of all-electric or range-extended electric drivetrain, has proven popular around the world, selling reasonably large numbers since its introduction, while the BMW i8 — a flagship halo model for the brand — has become a firm addition to many a collector’s garages.
BMW’s plan behind the i-brand was to give it a little more freedom in experimentation with alternative drivetrains and construction methods without tainting its main brand’s reputation. Part of that included plans to expand the BMW i-brand lineup to include future models so that a range of different drivetrains and platforms could be honed before introduction to the mainstream BMW family.
But this week we heard a rumor that BMW is killing the i5 — a mid-sized battery electric crossover — in favor of focusing its efforts on electrification of its main brand (which may focus on plug-in hybrid or electric models) and on building a production high-end halo car based on its Vision Next concept.
So what does that mean for BMW? And what does it mean for its plug-in vehicle program looking forward?
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