The styling of BMW electric cars will become more palatable in the near future as compared to the styling that the current i range wears, according to design director Adrian van Hooydonk.

BMW’s reasoning behind the outlandish styling of the i3 hatchback and i8 coupe was that the cars needed to stand out from their petrol-powered rivals. Van Hooydonk said that as electric powertrains enter the mainstream market, the design of the cars will also start conforming to prevalent market trends and expectations. “Electric mobility will spread through our entire vehicle range in quite a short space of time – to the point that electric or plug-in hybrid is just another option box you tick as you order the car,” he added.

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BMW’s next addition to the i brand, the all-electric iX3 does not wear a revolutionary design, taking the subtle, mainstream path to design.

Talking about cars no longer needing to wear radical designs to advertise their unique powertrains, van Hooydonk also said, “The fact is that BMW customers want a dynamic car, whether it is a battery-electric vehicle or not, and so there’s is increasingly less reason to make these kinds of cars look different.”

However, BMW hasn’t sounded the death knell for innovatively designed cars yet. “The i brand stands for inspiration and innovation, and electrification is not the only area of our industry that marks a significant change,” continued van Hooydonk. “It’s pretty clear that there will still be i cars, and that the designers will be able to search for different things.”

The new approach is already visible on the iX3 which is the next addition to the BMW i range. It does not look overtly extreme, instead drawing most of its design from its conventional counterpart the X3 midsize crossover. The iX3 will be followed by the i4 saloon in 2021 which will be based on the 4-Series platform. Since the i brand identifies with ground-breaking design, the design department will introduce a dramatic product in the form of the Vision iNext, an X5-based SUV, also due in 2021.