BMW has confirmed that the next-generation 7 Series will be offered with the option of an all-electric powertrain when it’s officially launched in around 2022. The decision will make the German company’s flagship a direct competitor for the upcoming Jaguar XJ, which will also make the switch to all-electric drive later this year.
It’ll be powered by BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive electric technology, which will debut on the next iX3 SUV. The system groups the electric motor, transmission and electronics into a single bolt-in unit, reducing the amount of space the system takes up in the vehicle. In addition, the new 7 Series will be available with either petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid powertrains.
Technical specifications are yet to be announced but, to be competitive in the market, the electric 7 Series will need a range upwards of 500 kilometres. The Tesla Model S has a maximum claimed range of 610 kilometres, while premium SUV-shaped rivals such as the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron both offer around 400 kilometres of range.
The BMW Group (which includes MINI and Rolls Royce) has also announced it will have 25 electrified vehicles on the market by 2023 – and more than half of those models will feature a fully-electric powertrain. The company will achieve this by building its fleet on a range of flexible platforms, which support all-electric, plug-in hybrid and combustion-engined drivetrains.
We’ve seen this already with the new BMW iX3. When it goes on sale later this year, the SUV will be one of the most diverse models in the company’s line-up, with a choice of petrol, diesel, mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric powertrains. All versions share the same basic version of BMW’s CLAR platform, with the required hardware for the hybrid and all-electric variants being bolted on as necessary.
The most potent version of the iX3 will feature BMW’s twin-motor all-wheel-drive electric powertrain and a 70kWh battery pack, which offers a power output of 397kW and a claimed 400 kilometres of range. We expect a modified version of this powertrain to feature in the new 7 Series.