According to a new report out of Germany, the small electric hatchback is considered unviable in China and the USA.
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The long-rumoured BMW i1 electric vehicle – based on the existing 1 Series hatchback – could still be years away from production, according to German publication Automobilwoche.

The outlet claims that a lack of market appeal in China and the US has resulted in existing plans for the BMW hatchback being "put on the back burner" for the time being.

Instead, it is suggested that an i2 – based on the German brand's current 2 Series Gran Coupe liftback – would be prioritised for development, given the greater popularity of conventional sedan-shaped models in the aforementioned markets.

BMW buyers looking for a compact five-door electric vehicle will soon be able to opt for the iX1, an electric version of the next-generation X1 small SUV, spied testing for the first time in recent months.

Above and bottom: The current, petrol-powered BMW 1 Series hatch.

While specific mechanical details of the model remain thin on the ground, overseas reports indicate two powertrains could be offered: a single-motor, 132kW front-wheel-drive variant, and a more potent 184kW all-wheel-drive flagship.

Given the iX1 SUV and any potential i1 hatch would ride on the same platform, it’s likely the latter would share its powertrain line-up with the former.

BMW currently offers the i3 electric hatch in Australia, priced from $71,900 plus on-road costs. However, it’s worth noting the i3 slots into the segment below the 1 Series hatch, instead competing with city-sized ‘light’ rivals such as the Renault Zoe.

The iX3 – based on the standard petrol-powered X3 mid-size SUV – is slated for arrival mid-year, with the larger iX crossover to follow in the fourth quarter of 2021.