Car Industry

I, Robot car: BMW to launch autonomous electric flagship in 2021

It's apparently going to be called i Next, which is not exactly falling in line with BMW's current taxonomic structure.

If this is where BMW will take inspiration for the i Next, color me excited.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

If you ever get the chance to check out an automaker's shareholder meeting, you might find choice tidbits on future products tucked away in a CEO's statements. There's one such juicy tidbit in BMW's latest shareholder meeting, and it's all about the future of Bavarian transportation.

"[The BMW i8 Roadster] will be followed in 2021 by the BMW i Next, our new innovation driver, with autonomous driving, digital connectivity, intelligent lightweight design, a totally new interior and ultimately bringing the next generation of electro-mobility to the road," CEO Harald Krueger said during the meeting.

While details don't exist beyond Krueger's statements, it can be reasonably inferred that some of the i Next's ideas will come from the Vision Next 100 concept shown off earlier this year. This concept lays the groundwork for the future of BMW's design and engineering efforts, with a bit of flash thrown in for fun (like the wheels that hide behind moving body panels).

BMW is continuing its push into electrification with two new models over the next couple years (that we know of, at least). This year, BMW will debut a revised i3 with additional range, followed by a drop-top version of the i8 hybrid sports car in 2018. Research from these efforts have gone on to help current road cars -- for example, the new 7 Series sedan sports a carbon-fiber structure similar to that in the i3 and i8.

2015 BMW i8 2dr Cpe