BMW hopes to challenge Tesla with its new battery-powered i4
BMW on Tuesday presented its i4 electric concept car, set for release in 2021, as Germany's high-end manufacturers scramble to offer drivers a credible alternative to Tesla.
Boasting a sleek silhouette and mammoth front grille, the new car will offer a range of 600km, says BMW, measured under the European Union's WLTP standard.
Years after its pioneering i3 battery-powered compact failed to achieve the hoped-for breakthrough, so far the storied car maker has no equivalent to Tesla's mass-market Model 3 now on sale.
"This kind of car, a sporty BMW sedan, does not exist with electric power on the market today," said chief executive Oliver Zipse in a telephone conference.
Executives say the i4 will be profitable - not always a given in the low-margin battery-powered car business.
It is one of a slew of electric models planned for the coming years as car makers look to escape tighter EU carbon emissions limits, which bear hefty fines.
"We already have half a million BMW electric cars on the roads and we want to double that number by the end of the year," said Zipse.