How Will the BMW i9 Lead to the Electric Minivan?

Written By: EightySix

BMW announced it will build a more powerful follow-up for the i8 to celebrate its 100 year anniversary. Details are still well hidden about the i9, but it seems the i8's 3 cylinder engine could be replaced with a turbo-charged 3.0 liter V6 and larger electric motors. It will have four doors rather than two. Who knows if any of them will hinge up?

3.8 seconds to sixty and 155 miles per hour from a $137,000 plug-in hybrid was just not enough. BMW aims for 500 horsepower, 550 pound-feet of torque and sillier performance numbers. Hopefully the 22 mile electric range will also be improved.

This is great for those with a couple hundred grand to spend on a toy. I goose-pimple over a super-car as much as the next guy and I am not a buzz killer, but does this mean anything to the average car owner? Will lightning-powered techno-cars from the future help me swap my four-wheeled carbon monoxide factory for something greener?

I actually think it can. The BMW i9 will help me take the kids to gymnastics in an electric minivan. Let me illuminate how.

Why are families still driving around gas-powered minivans and SUVs? No one's building anything for us. Everything clean and green is too small for us and not robust enough to make us feel safe.

Why isn't there a jumbo Chevrolet Megaspark or Smart ForNine to compete with the Dodge Caravan and Lincoln Navigator? The motors and batteries to make it happen would be much too expensive. The product would be way over $100,000, weigh four tons and would never sell.

Yet the i8 weighs 3360 pounds, has Corvette performance and can handle the resulting forces. The i9 will weigh little more and achieve greater results. Why? Carbon fiber and aluminum. These vehicles require components that are light weight and high strength to a level never before seen.

My electric minivan needs the same, but I don't need the wicked performance. (I'll take it, though.) Carbon fiber manufacturing is on the rise and prices are falling. Take some of what super-car engineers have learned and apply it a stiff, light minivan chassis. Give me the Chevy Spark EV engine with 400 pound-feet of torque with a 40 kWh battery pack built into the floor and I'm outa here.

Do you think the super-car engineering that creates miracles like the BMW i9 benefits the average driver? Or is it a decadent waste of rich people's disposable money?