The BMW i3, which always seems to be on the precipice of discontinuation, is slated for yet another battery upgrade—even in the middle of re-positioning its electrical models as more mainstream-friendly offerings.

BMW i3 expert/owner (and occasional GCR contributor) Tom Moloughney at Inside EVs reports that we can expect more upgrades before the i3 gives way to what will likely be an i-branded version of BMW's baby X1 crossover.

He based this on comments by BMW CEO Oliver Zipse, who told (paywalled; in German) that not only is the i3 not going anywhere, but it's going to "make another leap in battery and operating concepts."

Iteration has pay dividends for the i3, the sales of which seem to have scaled with its capabilities. BMW has doubled the i3's battery capacity over the course of its production run (from 21.6 kwh at launch, to 33.2 kwh in 2017 and now 42.2 for 2019), pushing its total EPA-rated range up from just 81 miles to 114 and now 153 before factoring in its range-extending capabilities⁠—all without significant price increases.

Separately, the i3s boosted performance—and appeal, in BMW circles—without significantly dinging range. 

BMW is developing a next-generation electric powertrain that is both modular and scalable, which will allow its engineers to deploy it across multiple variants of its new global platform architecture. 

Individual, self-contained drive units can be placed at each axle (or even for each corner, depending on the level of desired torque vectoring control), adding to both the number of driven wheels and the the system's total power output. 

With the rollout of this new powertrain, BMW will begin to bring its electric offerings into its mainstream stable rather than differentiating its electric offerings with a dedicated series, the way it currently does with "i."

The first implementation of both is expected to be the forthcoming iX3 compact crossover, which we hope to see in production guise soon.