In 2021, BMW will begin using a new vehicle platform that integrates combustion and electric powertrains on the same production lines. The first electric Bimmer to emerge on the platform will likely be the BMW i4, based on the iVision Dynamic concept shown here.
You might think of it as an all-electric version of the BMW 4-Series Gran Coupé, perhaps slightly raised to make room for a battery pack under the cabin. Preliminary specs indicate the i4 will be slightly shorter and wider than the Tesla Model 3. It will have a driving range of more than 300 miles. A cheaper, shorter-range version will follow.
The BMW iNext, also due in 2021, is undoubtedly an all-electric vehicle. But the electric-ness of the SUV is secondary to its automated features, as well as advanced voice/gesture controls and connectivity. The first iteration, when introduced in 2021, won’t have all those whiz-bang features found in concept versions.
It remains to be seen if the concept’s oversized and stylized double-kidney grille will remain in place. Like other futuristic, self-driving concepts, the cabin has a living-room vibe. Battery specs are still murky, but the range is rumored at around 400 miles.
Byton is primarily focused on delivering the M-Byte, its 250-mile all-electric EV, by 2020. But the Chinese EV start-up is also planning to quickly follow-up in 2021 with the K-Byte, a sedan built on the same platform. Byton’s first two models are similar in proportion to the Tesla Model S and X.
Most of the fanfare about the K-Byte concerns its automated features. Those are being developed in collaboration with Aurora, led by Chris Urmson, the self-driving tech pioneer. The concept version of the K-Byte is adorned with prominent but retractable sensors – employed to enable the K-Byte to achieve a high degree of autonomy on many (but not all) roadways.
Volkswagen I.D. Buzz
Volkswagen says that by 2022 it will begin producing the I.D. Buzz, an EV in the spirit of the iconic VW Microbus. Cult-like fans of the original VW bus went nuts about the news. But most observers are skeptical about the German automaker coming through – especially when it promises 300-plus miles of range and more than 300 horsepower.
The I.D. Buzz and its Cargo variant would use the platform of a midsize passenger car that could be configured to carry people or goods. VW is already talking about using a battery-powered minivan like the Buzz in MOIA, the Europe-based ridesharing company it launched last year.
Hyundai will launch a new dedicated EV platform in 2020. That platform is essential to its plan to introduce 44 electrified models by 2025. There are signs that the first EV on the platform will be a flagship luxury model. The Korean automaker is likely to use Genesis, its luxury brand, for the new EV. The Genesis Essentia Concept, unveiled in 2018 (and shown here), could provide some ideas about the model’s design language.
Few details are known. But media sources suggest the new model will provide more than 300 miles on a single charge. Hyundai-Kia has strong early electric offerings, such as the Kona Electric, but the company struggles to produce enough units to meet demand. The introduction of a new dedicated EV in 2021 should allow Hyundai to ramp up production.
Subaru has been slow to introduce electric technology, only offering the Crosstrek plug-in hybrid with 17 miles of EV range. That will change in 2021 when the outdoorsy brand launches an all-electric model. It will likely be an electric variant of an existing nameplate.
Evidence of a 2021 Subby EV is based on Japanese and U.S. reports about a new global platform for the company. That platform reportedly will accommodate gasoline, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric drivetrains for popular models, like the Forester and Outback. See the above image of the Subaru Viziv Concept for hints at the brand’s future styling.
Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion
Volkswagen is expected to hit its EV stride after 2021. That’s when we could see a low-slung all-wheel-drive, full-size VW sedan with a giant 111 kilowatt-hour battery pack. The company is claiming that the I.D. Vizzion will go more than 400 miles on a single charge.
The Vizzion will be built with future autonomy and other next-generation technology in mind. That’s why the razzle-dazzle concept version doesn’t have a steering wheel. But VW admits that the way-out automotive tech could be a decade away.
…And A Lot More
Based on standard product cycles (and some reading between the lines of company statements), we see these developments emerging around 2021 or soon after:
- A new platform for the Chevrolet Bolt with a potential crossover variant
- Nearly a decade into production, Tesla could redesign the Model S with styling and tech updates
- In 2019, Tesla started selling its $35,000 model, but the EV-maker could go even further down-market with a smaller compact model for the masses.
- With many automakers integrating production lines for electric powertrains, we expect to see tons of new plug-in hybrid models. For reluctant consumers, a wide selection of plug-in hybrids will serve as gateway drugs to pure EVs.
10 / 10