Shortly after the announcement of its first two electric models i3 and i8, BMW is confirming its release of a third model in its “BMW i” series. Their first self-driving car, called i Next, is an autonomous, intelligent luxury car which will be released in 2021.
“People often ask me, when will we be driving autonomously? My answer is: We already can,” CEO Harald Krueger said. “A BMW test vehicle autonomously completed a lap of the Hockenheimring racetrack back in 2006. In 2011, a BMW drove on the A9 autobahn from Munich towards Nuremberg — without any driver intervention. It will be a while before these cars reach series maturity, also because the proper legal framework for customers and manufacturers has not yet been decided.”
Krueger announced the release of the i Next in a recent shareholder meeting. “In 2018, we will launch a BMW i8 Roadster. This will be followed in 2021 by the BMW i NEXT, our new innovation driver, with autonomous driving, digital connectivity, intelligent lightweight design, a totally new interior and ultimately bringing the next generation of electro-mobility to the road,” he said.
While they have not released any concept designs for the new model, hints point that it will look similar to its Vision Next 100 concept design.
BMW created the BMW i to keep up with the auto industry’s shift towards renewable energy, going by the main concept, “born electric.” According to their website, “BMW i is a comprehensive and ground-breaking concept for sustainable mobility. It represents visionary electric vehicles and mobility services, inspiring design and a new understanding of premium that is strongly defined by sustainability. And it thrills with its innovative vehicles: the all-electric BMW i3, a locally emission-free car for city driving that is sustainably designed throughout, and the BMW i8 as the most progressive sports car.”