BMW unveils the exterior of the i4, its first electric sedan

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BMW has pulled the wraps off of the exterior of its first electric sedan, the i4, after years of teasing a true follow-up to the i3 EV. The i4 is slated to hit the road by the end of the year — ahead of schedule, the company says — and BMW said Wednesday that it will also offer an M Performance model.

The German automaker showed off the i4 at an annual company conference ahead of a full breakdown of what the electric car can do scheduled to happen in the coming weeks. For now, BMW only shared a few specs. The company said the i4 will be available in different configurations, with a max range of around 300 miles and power of around 390kW (roughly 530 horsepower) that’s delivered from a single motor.

That’s all pretty much in line with what BMW detailed in the concept version of the i4, which broke cover last year during the digital-only 2020 Geneva Motor Show. If the production i4 really does wind up tracking closely to the concept version, expect it to be powered by an 80kWh battery pack, too. As for the interior, we already know it will use the new version of BMW’s iDrive software and infotainment platform revealed earlier this week. It’s a far cry from the company’s first pseudo-attempt at an electric car a decade ago with the small Active-E pilot program.

At Wednesday’s conference, BMW also detailed more of its plan to shift its vehicles to electric drivetrains. The company said it expects to sell at least one fully electric vehicle in 90 percent of the markets it’s in by 2023 and deliver 2 million EVs by the end of 2025. It expects the number of EVs it sells to grow by around 20 percent annually between 2025 and 2030. At that point, BMW says it expects half of all new vehicles it sells to be fully electric.

That’s a far more optimistic take on the popularity of EVs than BMW had previously offered, especially as it spent years with the i3 as its only fully electric car on the market. The i4 will be a flagship of the company’s renewed push into EVs, though BMW has already released the iX3 SUV in Europe and China. That said, it’s still a less aggressive strategy than other automakers are taking, especially in the face of a growing number of proposed bans on new gas cars.

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