BMW is reportedly planning to simplify its model designations as it expands its range of electric vehicles. Currently, gasoline models use a numerical portion followed by a lower-case “i,” such as 540i, while electric models use designations like iX1 xDrive30. Under the new format, gasoline models will drop the “i” and simply be referred to by the numerical portion, while electric models will have an “i” added to their numerical portion. For example, the redesigned 2024 5-Series will be known as the 540, while its electric variant, the i5 eDrive40, will be called the i540. This new naming convention is expected to be introduced with the upcoming Neue Klasse family of electric vehicles, starting with the next 3-Series and X3 ranges.
The decision to simplify the model designations is likely driven by BMW’s expanding lineup of electric vehicles. As the German automaker aims to offer a wider range of electric models, it becomes important to have a clear and consistent naming structure. The new naming convention will make it easier for customers to identify and understand the different powertrain options available.
Trademark filings for the new designations were made with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in March of this year. Similar trademarks were also discovered by CAR magazine with European trademark authorities. These filings suggest that BMW is serious about implementing the new naming convention and will likely roll it out in the near future.
According to CAR magazine, the Neue Klasse family of electric vehicles will be the first models to feature the new designations. The Neue Klasse EVs were previewed at the 2023 Munich auto show with the reveal of the Vision Neue Klasse concept. These electric vehicles are expected to be part of the next 3-Series and X3 ranges, marking BMW’s continued push towards electrification.
BMW is not the only automaker considering a name change to accommodate the growing number of electric vehicles in their lineup. Mercedes-Benz is rumored to be phasing out its EQ sub-brand for EVs, starting with the next CLA-Class. Audi has already confirmed that it will use model names with even numbers for EVs and odd numbers for gas-powered cars. These changes reflect the industry-wide shift towards electric mobility and the need for distinct naming structures to differentiate between electric and internal combustion engine models.
By simplifying and standardizing its model designations, BMW aims to make it easier for consumers to navigate its expanding range of electric vehicles. The new naming convention will provide clarity and consistency, helping customers identify the different powertrain options available. As BMW and other automakers continue to invest in electric mobility, clear and intuitive naming conventions will play a crucial role in shaping consumer perception and understanding of these new technologies.