The EV is expected to borrow the hydrogen-powered i8 prototype's platform architecture.
BMW may be preparing to ditch a hybrid powertrain for the next-generation i8, instead offering the coupe as a purely electric model.
The current i8 pairs a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine and a single electric motor. The former provides 231 horsepower, while the latter adds 131 ponies. Together, the power sources launch the car to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds and keep pushing up to 155 mph.
Instead of a gasoline engine, the all-electric i8 will receive two additional electric motors to drive the rear wheels, according to an Autocar report. Eliminating the engine is also said to enable a significantly larger battery without any weight penalty compared to the current hybrid system.
A source claims engineers are working on electric motors that "rev far higher" than typical motors used in EVs today, while fitting into a smaller footprint. The new motors are said to produce up to 268 horsepower each, suggesting the coupe could get a significant performance boost.
Early prototypes are expected to be built upon the same chassis architecture that underpins the hydrogen-powered i8 (pictured). The fuel-cell variant boasts a wider center tunnel for hydrogen tanks, providing a favorable low position for additional batteries.
An updated version of the current i8 hybrid is expected to precede the pure EV. Reports point to 420 horsepower, thanks to better motors and a retuned gasoline engine, along with revised exterior styling and a slightly larger battery.