BMW could build a large battery powered sedan to compete head on with Tesla's Model S.
Following the critical success being enjoyed by the Tesla Model S many within BMW's i project are already convinced that there is potential for a model larger than the i3.
The company is still deciding whether the new car – likely to be called i5 – would be a crossover or a conventional sedan.
'We are having these discussions right now,' said the senior BMW source, 'and no decision has been taken. In fact, there's still not an absolute decision that the car, if it is called i5, should even happen. Many, including myself, believe that there is potential. Then if we decide the car should happen, we need to decide if it is a regular sedan or something where the passengers are sitting slightly higher up.
'Then after that we need to decide whether a car of this size can be a fully electric edition, like the i3, or whether it needs to be a range-extender – or perhaps even a plug-in hybrid. That could ultimately be the best solution for that model; we don't know yet.'
BMW have already underestimated demand for their first fully electric i3 and have announced they are planning to have a plug-in hybrid in each and every model series. BMW have also already road tested an all electric X1 crossover, initially bound for Chinese production in a joint venture with Chinese partner Brilliance Auto, so perhaps an all electric 5 series or X5 is a logical next step.