BMW’s armored vehicles are going electric, too.
The German marque has confirmed that it will build a high-security version of its upcoming all-electric flagship, the i7. And while major modifications will be necessary, the brand promises the battery-powered vehicle will live up to the high standards of its past impenetrable cars and SUVs.
The announcement was made following last month’s G7 summit in Germany, where the non-armored EV was used to shuttle world leaders around Upper Bavaria. Specifics are still to come, but Oliver Zipse, the chairman of BMW’s Board of Management, confirmed that a Protection Trim version of the vehicle will arrive sometime after the regular i7 makes its debut as part of the 2023 model year.
“We will also introduce an all-electric high-security vehicle for the first time—with no comprises when it comes to the standard of protection for our customers,” Zipse said in a statement. “It will be based on the BMW i7, demonstrating how sustainability and security can go hand in hand.”
It’s unclear at this point what kind of armor the i7 will be outfitted with. The Drive pointed out that it won’t need protection around its engine bay like a typical bullet-proof car for obvious reasons, but will likely require a heavily armored undercarriage to shield its battery pack from punctures and fires. A careful balance will need to be struck, though, in order to make sure the ride doesn’t grow too heavy.
BMW hasn’t altered the powertrains of past armored vehicles and the standard i7 already weighs 5,900 pounds. That’s quite heavy for any vehicle. Add in the 2,000 pounds of armor featured on the E38-generation 750iL, for instance, the zero-emissions saloon will be in the same neighborhood as the 9,000-pound GMC Hummer EV. The added weight could severely impede the i7’s performance; in particular, its targeted 300-plus mile range. And, as we’ve seen with GMC supertruck, the extra pounds may also affect how environmentally friendly the vehicle actually is.
Regardless, a Protection Trim i7 will be BMW’s greenest armored car yet.