BMW has finally confirmed that it is going to bring on their next-generation 7-series premium sedan with an all-electric powertrain. There has been quite some speculation regarding an electric version of the 7 Series, and some spy clicks of the sedan being tested with all-electric powertrains have also surfaced in recent times. But, now the automaker has officially made the announcement of the upcoming launch of the fully electric 7-Series.
The announcement was made on 18th March 2020, at the BMW Group Analyst and Investor Conference 2020, where the Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Oliver Zipse, declared about the same in his presentation. The Chairman spoke about a number of things, including the current economic situation in the world, the coronavirus pandemic, and BMW’s past successes and future objectives. Regarding the introduction of the 7-Series as a completely electric vehicle, the Chairman said in light of the trend in the electrification of automobiles, the brand’s flagship 7-series will be one of them. It has also been said that apart from the fully-electric version, the sedan will also come in three other drive train variants – diesel, petrol, and a plug-in hybrid, click here to know more about all trims.
The Chairman’s speech shows the BMW Group’s inclination to adhere to the target of various Governments to bring in more electrified vehicles in the market. In this line, it was further declared that apart from the electric 7-series, the BMW X3 will also have an all-electric variant as iX3 along with the petrol, diesel, and plug-in hybrid versions. Considering the naming strategy adopted by BMW for its electric cars, the fully electric 7-series is possibly be referred to as an i7. It has not been announced that when the next-gen 7-series will be made available in the market, but it is expected to be introduced sometime in 2022 – 2023.
The BMW 7-Series falls in the full-size luxury sedan category of the carmaker and has been in the market since 1977. The current model of the 7-series is in its sixth generation, being introduced in 2015. The sixth-gen 7-series is also called as a G11 / G12 (for the short wheelbase and extended wheelbase respectively) and forms the first of BMW cars to have an underpinning of the modular Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform (also known as OKL platform). The next-gen BMW is also expected to share the same platform, though the CLAR platform is due to get an upgrade in 2021. According to Klaus Froehlich, the Research and Development head of BMW in Munich, “In 2021 we will update the CLAR architecture with a new central floor that can house higher-density batteries. This will permit our plug-in hybrids to travel 80, 100 to 120 km in a full-electric-mode as well as allowing us to install a larger fuel tank than we have in our current plug-in hybrids”, as reported by BMW blog. So, it is expected that the next-gen 7-series will have the updated CLAR chassis for a smooth all-electric performance.
BMW is likely to use its fifth-gen battery and new electric powertrain technology for the redesigned 7-series sedan. The new battery and powertrain technology is due to come around in 2021, and will first appear in the battery-electric crossover SUV named the iNext. The iNext, which is said to be a technological flagship for BMW, will include a number of advanced techs like self-driving systems, electric propulsion and more. This fifth-generation electric technology can support up to 120 kilowatt-hours of battery capacity, or a driving range of about 400 miles. The Chairman, in his presentation, also mentioned the launch of the iNext all-electric model in 2021, which will be built at BMW’s Dingolfing plant.
The Conference on 18th March 2020 also witnessed some more announcements regarding BMW’s near-future roadmap. Apart from the 7-Series, the iX3, and the iNext, the BMW Group is also planning to launch as many as 25 electric models, among which more than 50% would be battery-powered fully-electric versions. The upcoming BMW i4 will be another addition, glorifying BMW’s endeavor to increase the presence of electric vehicles on road.
The BMW Chairman disclosed that at this time of the year when the whole world is struggling to cope with the ongoing pandemic, the market outlook for the automobile industry is not predicted to thrive. But, the Chairman says, BMW has prepared well for such tough times, and their endeavor to produce consumer-centric vehicles will surely pay off. With the strong focus of the Countries on electrification of vehicles and limited CO2 emissions, BMW has established itself to be one of the world’s leading automobile companies in the field of electrification. In 2019 alone, BMW claims to have sold as many as 146,000 all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. BMW’s MINI has also been a part of the transformation, and the recent launch of the all-electric MINI Cooper SE shows how successful it is going to be.
BMW claims that their Efficient Dynamics system, which they had introduced in 2007, is still being used in their cars and play a significant role in diminishing CO2 emissions. Climate protection has always been on their agenda, and that is maintained throughout their vehicle variants. However, with the surge in electric vehicles at present, the position is just getting better.
On this line, the announced next-generation BMW 7-series all-electric sedan is deemed to be a sure success. The Chairman’s speech also clarified that all the drive trains for the upcoming 7-series will have the same architecture and that the fully-electric model of the sedan shall be the most well-equipped and be placed at the top of the hierarchy. This move by the BMW is, however, not that unprecedented, because the competitors have already started investing in the development of their all-electric vehicles. When the new 7-series gets introduced, it will have to face strong competition from the already existing Tesla Model S and the battery-powered electric Jaguar XJ. Moreover, Mercedes-Benz is also on the way of launching an all-electric model of its S-class full-size luxury sedan called the EQS.
The present generation of the BMW 7-series still has a few more years of lifetime, and this is evident from the upgrades and refreshes it has received for the 2020 model year. The next generation of the car may be said to be appearing sometime after 2020, with its launch in the United States getting delayed till 2023.