Electric cars coming soon: BMW Vision iNext

Electric vehicles still account for a tiny proportion of car sales, but that could soon change, because these upcoming models push the boundaries of performance, range and desirability...

BMW Vision iNext

BMW Vision iNext

On sale: 2021

About the same size as the X5 SUV, the Vision iNext (although it won’t have that name when it goes on sale) is said to be capable of level three autonomy – meaning that, in certain situations such as on the motorway, drivers won’t need to pay attention to what the car is doing.

The concept features super-slim LED headlights, a large central grille and bodywork designed to channel air efficiently around the car. You can expect most of its styling to be toned down for production, but the oversized grille is likely to feature on the finished car.

Inside, the Vision iNext isn’t as pod-like as many other autonomous concepts, retaining a steering wheel should the driver choose to take charge of the car. Indeed, BMW officials have said the company’s cars will always include a steering wheel.

BMW iVision Next dashboard

The Vision iNext can travel for up to 450 miles on a single charge – helped by the large battery housed beneath its floor. Drivers can choose between Boost and Ease modes, with the former allowing the Vision iNext to be driven like a normal car. When Ease mode is engaged, however, the steering wheel retracts slightly and the infotainment displays show places of interest near to the car.

There aren’t any other visible control surfaces inside the concept; BMW says this is because it might be possible to integrate controls into wooden or cloth surfaces in the future. For example, in autonomous mode, the driver can make inputs directly into the wooden centre console to control things like the stereo.

The production model will be part of a larger family of i-branded cars from BMW. The company says it plans to sell 25 electrified models (which can include hybrids and plug-in hybrids as well as fully electric cars) by 2025. Of those, 12 will be fully electric.

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