It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed since the i3 was first unveiled back in 2013, but it’s the truth, and in the years since, BMW has not rested. Even as other manufacturers have since broken into the electrified market and proven themselves to be serious threats, with other automakers the world over also rushing to remain relevant in an electrified future, BMW has been steadily building its presence—and gaining indispensable development knowledge along the way. There are already plenty of articles on this website detailing BMW’s upcoming EVs, like the i4 and iX3, but over the past several years and the bulk of the outgoing decade, BMW has already established itself as a force within the market, and this year, the 500,000th BMW Group vehicle with an electrified drivetrain was delivered.
It was a BMW 330e, delivered to its new owner, Florian Merk, at the Welt. Merk was treated to a surprise when he showed up to collect his new car, a cutting-edge hybrid that he describes as the best of both worlds, “for the most part, I can drive emission-free—especially in the city—but, on longer trips, I still have the flexible range of a combustion engine.” The new 330e isn’t just the best of both worlds when it comes to mitigating carbon emissions will retaining range, it also bridges the gap between practicality and enjoyability, with all of the characteristics that have made a BMW sport sedan great for so long present, and perhaps more importantly, it means you aren’t stuck buying something like a Prius if you want an economical hybrid.
Those who’ve been following along with the development of future models and general BMW press also know the company isn’t comfortable remaining where it is as far as electrification is concerned. As has been detailed on this site, BMW is in the midst of unveiling 25 different hybrid and purely-electric models, a process that will culminate in 2023. That’s two years ahead of the original schedule, and some of the most important models of the next-generation BMW EV lineup will be here as soon as 2021.
These include concepts like iNext, and perhaps even more importantly, cars like the i4 and iX3, which will fill important gaps in BMW’s current electrified offerings. It’s not just the exclusively-electric cars that are elements of what will bolster BMW’s future electrified lineup, but also hybrid models as well. Just as the virtues of the G20 330e are extolled above, models like the X3 xDrive30e and X5 xDrive45e are also important pillars within the model lineup to cater to drivers of all sorts.
The X3 lineup will soon be a testament to this, with four different propulsion methods scheduled to be available for the global market; gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and electric.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]