BMW i8 to go full-electric after facelift

Ditch the gasoline engine, gain more horsepower.

According to Autocar, BMW has plans to turn the i8 sports car from a hybrid to a fully electric vehicle. The carbon fiber structure would be modified with a wider center tunnel to house a sizable battery. Despite this, there would be no weight gain to the i8; the current version weighs in at 3,274 lbs.

The electric prototype would have three BMW-developed brushless electric motors, two of them powering the rear wheels and one of them taking care of the front wheels. As the 1.5-liter gasoline engine would be shelved, there would be ample space for the two rear-mounted motors. Currently, the i8 produces 357 horsepower all told, but the electric motors in the prototype are said to produce up to 268 horsepower – each. The electric prototype is to be based on the architecture of a hydrogen prototype, which manages 242 horsepower in total.

The information relayed on to Autocar comes from a source close to BMW's development boss, Klaus Fröhlich.

The facelifted version of the i8 should arrive next year, with awaited improvements like a new 26Ah lithium ion battery – 6Ah up from the current version. There is also talk of a Qualcomm inductive charging system, and its 7.2kWh operating power is doubled from the current 3.6kWh plug-in setup. If the rumormill is to be believed, engine output in the facelifted version would be up ten percent, resulting in 390 horsepower.

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