Can you spot the EVs?
Turns out, there is something unusual about the BMW booth at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. It's tough to notice at first glance, but every single vehicle on display is a plug-in model. Sure, there are only six vehicles here, but that 100-percent rating is a sign of the changes the auto industry is going through. The future is electric, even in the Midwest.
Here's what BMW has on display: i3, i8, 330e iPerformance, 740e xDrive iPerformance, X5 xDrive40e iPerformance (all 2017 models), and the 2018 530e iPerformance. The i3 and i8 are the easiest electric vehicles to spot, not only because of their EV styling, but also because they're the only two that are plugged in to display chargers on the show floor. The four iPerformance models are just sitting there like any normal gas car at another stand, without anything to draw your eye to the fact that they plug in, unless you read the product information sheets.
The iPerformance line of vehicles was added as a BMW sub-brand in the middle of last year for vehicles that don't go quite as deep into electrification as the two BMWi models. If a BMW says iPerformance on it, then it's a plug-in hybrid that uses some of the electric technology from the i3 and i8. Think of it as the blue-coloured, eco-minded-but-still-powerful version of the brand's M Performance vehicles. The latest model in the sub-brand, the 530e iPerformance, debuted at the Detroit Auto Show last month.
Last year - and I know this because I sometimes go count things - BMW brought a total of 19 vehicles, four of which had plugs. The four were the i3, the i8, the X5 xDrive40e, and the 330 eDrive Sedan. Who wants to place bets on what happens in 2018?