Possibly the most exciting electric cars to appear over the next few years are from BMW.

The German maker's electric i3 subcompact and i8 plug-in hybrid supercar have whetted our appetites and now BMW has announced a further addition to the range, in the shape of the i8 Spyder.

Autocar reveals that BMW sources have confirmed the Spyder, based on the regular fixed-roof i8 and due in 2015.

As you can see from the images, it's possibly the closest indication yet of what the production i8 will look like, losing the previous concepts' part-glass doors in favor of something more conventional. The rest of the styling remains as striking as the earlier vehicles though, suggesting this is one concept that should make it to production virtually unscathed.

Details of the roof mechanism aren't clear just yet, though a single-piece removable panel--likely made from carbon fiber--is rumored.

Like the i8 coupe, the Spyder will use an all-wheel drive, plug-in hybrid system. A 1.5-liter 3-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine delivers up to 220-horsepower to the rear wheels, while the front axle is powered by a 129-horsepower electric motor.

BMW i8 Concept Spyder

BMW i8 Concept Spyder

This allows the i8 to operate in front, rear or four-wheel drive, with the potential for 0-60 mph in only 5 seconds and a limited top speed of 155 mph.

Even better, the i8 could be capable of nearly 80 mpg, with an all-electric range of around 19 miles--enough to make the i8 a zero-emissions vehicle in city driving.

The 2015 BMW i8 Spyder is set to make its official debut at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show later this month.


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