Rumors: Industry Report—Is The BMW i8 In Jeopardy?

By Doran Dal Pra

May 25, 2012

To call BMW's "Project i" ambitious would be an serious understatement—the company has created two fully fledged concept vehicles in the i3 and the i8 that are due out in 2013 and 2014 respectively, and has created plans for and i1 city car and an i5 eco-van. The most prominenet of these is the i8, a striking plug-in hybrid sports coupe that was first introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009, and was given a starring role in last year's Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol alongside Tom Cruise. BMW has also set aggressive sales targets for these two cars—100,000 i3s and 10,000 i8s per year. Now, however, a new report on Automobile reveals that Project i could be at risk before it has fully found its legs.

A number of external factors are apparently threatening BMW's hybrid vehicle initiatives including governments being slow on the implementation of a broad battery charging infrastructure, continued global financial instability, and delayed acceptance of new technology and regulations. Automobile reports that BMW is continuing to move forward with Project i and that the necessary tooling and internal build up is on schedule, but BMW brass is also preparing contingency plans should the plug need to be pulled on Project i. Management has also reportedly put development of the i1 and i5 on hold, and may pursue a more mainstream hybrid vehicle before fully launching the i8.