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The BMW X3, X4, 3 Series, and Mini hatch, will be among the company’s mainstream vehicles to gain pure-electric drivetrains from 2019.

Harald Krueger, BMW’s CEO, has told Bloomberg the company will begin offering EV variants in its mainstream vehicle lines beginning in 2019 with an electric Mini hatchback.

This will then be followed in 2020 with an all-electric version of the third-generation BMW X3. According to Handelsblatt, the Mini and BMW X3 will be joined down the track by EV models in the 3 Series and X4 ranges.

Bmw i3 1
Above: BMW i3 and i8.

Kreuger told Bloomberg, “We’re already well on our way to electrifying the core portfolio, using powertrain technology from BMW i”. Unlike the BMW i models, though, these main-line EV variants will have “competitive” prices and driving ranges.

The BMW CEO noted that while its competitors were entering phase one of their EV strategies, BMW was about to take the leap into phase two.

As these reports note, spreading its EV technology beyond the pricey and carbon-fibre intensive BMW i models can be seen as a move to counter Tesla’s upcoming move into the mainstream with the Model 3, the affordable Chevrolet Bolt and Opel Ampera-e with a driving range of around 320km, and the upgraded Renault Zoe.

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Above: Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ.

Just as importantly, it will give BMW direct competitors to the EQ models planned by Mercedes-Benz, and future e-tron EVs from Audi.

It may also be an admission that BMW’s gambit to stake out the high ground with the distinctive, but expensive $63,990 i3 electric hatch and $299,000 i8 plug-in hybrid has failed to be quite the sales success that it had originally envisioned.

A report prior to the 2016 Paris motor show suggested that BMW might consider abandoning its i sub-brand due to high costs and lower than expected sales.

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