BMW: All our models will be electric within the decade

Virtually every BMW model would be converted to be powered by electric drivetrains, including range-extending engines and plug-in hybrids.

The transition will see even the company’s top-selling 3 Series sport saloons turned into plug-in hybrids.

The company is weary of the stringent European Union regulations that greatly reduce the average carbon emissions permitted from road vehicles. They are said to be tougher than either North American or Chinese emission levels.

The current EU limits extend only to 2021, and is expected to be pulled down further lower through 2025. Under the pressure of regulation, BMWs of the future will be smooth, powerful-and largely electric.

According to reports, BMW is now intends to convert all its vehicles to some configuration of plug-in hybrid. It will also lower their weight dramatically to compensate for larger battery packs, and make them far more aerodynamic. BMW is already acknowledged to be the electric-car leader among German makers.

The new range of cars could be driven by separate electric motors powering the front and rear wheels, with a small petrol engine to generate electricity to extend the range of the batteries.

The company has already invested billions in its Project i, a separate division dedicated to building alternative-fuel vehicles in eco-friendly factories. The project was created in the face of tightening emission standards and dwindling natural resources.

BMW has already unveiled the first of its i series vehicles last year, the i3 five-door electric car and i8 sports car. These vehicles have had a successful market run, with the i3 managing to become the fourth best-selling electric vehicle in the US region. The company sold a total of 17,793 i3s worldwide in 2014.

Ex-Dragon Duncan Bannatyne has already said that he is in for BMW’s electric cars after recently taking delivery of a £115,000 BMW i8 sports car, which uses a petrol-electric hybrid system to combine astonishing performance with exceptionally low exhaust emissions.

At the same time, electric charging points have been installed at his headquarters in Darlington. An increasing number of his visitors are said to be using electric or plug-in hybrid cars.

Bannatyne said: “I’m delighted with the new car, which combines outstanding, eye-catching design with an eco-friendly system that is just superb.

“I am a great believer in technological progress and it’s good to see the increasing number of mainstream cars that are available with hybrid or electric power systems.”

He is reportedly enjoying the head-turning styling of the car, which features gullwing doors, futuristic dashboard displays, a sleek outline and recyclable interior materials to further boost its green credentials.

Duncan quipped: “This car certainly attracts attention and won’t harm my pitch to be the next James Bond in any way!”