BMW may be planning to simplify its model designations as it continues to expand its electric vehicle offerings.

The current practice for gasoline model designations is to use a numerical portion followed by a lower-case “i,” such as 540i in the case of the redesigned 2024 5-Series. Under the new format, the model will simply be a 540. In parallel, a model like the new 5-Series’ electric i5 eDrive40 variant will simply be an i540.

Similarly, a gas-powered version of the X1 with all-wheel drive could be an X130 xDrive, while an electric version could be an iX130 xDrive. This is in contrast to current format where the gas-powered X1 uses designations such as X1 xDrive28i and the electric iX1 uses designations such as iX1 xDrive30.

Trademark filings for the new designations were made with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in March of this year. CAR magazine has also discovered similar trademarks with European trademark authorities.

The magazine predicts the new designations will be introduced with the arrival of the Neue Klasse family of electric vehicles, the first members of which are expected to be part of the next 3-Series and X3 ranges. The design of the Neue Klasse EVs was previewed at this month’s 2023 Munich auto show with the reveal of the Vision Neue Klasse concept.

BMW isn’t the only automaker thought to be planning changes to naming conventions to accommodate a major influx of EVs. Mercedes-Benz is rumored to be doing away with its current EQ sub-brand for EVs, starting with the arrival of the next CLA-Class around 2025 (or possibly earlier with the arrival of the electric G-Class), and Audi has already confirmed that it will use model names with even numbers for EVs and odd numbers for gas-powered cars.

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