While the current BMW i8 is already both a looker and one of the more environmentally conscious supercars on our roads, the next iteration will likely be even more efficient. Reports from the UK say that the new i8 will have a topless roadster option, a more powerful electric motor and larger drive battery, and even the possibility of inductive wireless charging.
An Autocar report coming to us via CarAdvice says that inductive charging is a big-ticket rumour for the next i8 upgrade, likely available as a (probably pricy) customer option at purchase. The system is apparently still in development, and competitor Tesla is expected to release a similar charging system in the near future too.
Wireless charging would almost certainly involve a charging pad being installed in customers' garages, but would require significant development due to the extremely short ranges over which current wireless charging systems work in smartphones and similar consumer tech.
As well as the rumoured inductive charging, the new BMW i8 will almost certainly inherit some of the performance features demonstrated on Formula E safety cars — including a 10kWh drive battery up from the previous 7.1kWh, and a more powerful combo of an updated three-cylinder petrol and electric hybrid drivetrain producing roughly 313kW versus the old car's 266kW.
Inductive charging, even at relatively low wattages, requires transfer distance of only a few millimetres to operate correctly and is comparatively lossy versus wired charging. It would also require a charging element being installed on the low-mounted battery packs of customer cars, potentially adding extra weight. [CarAdvice / Autocar]