Electrification is the way to go for carmakers in the years ahead, and BMW is planning for an electrified future that will cater to as many of its customers as possible
Electrification is pretty much an inevitability for the automotive industry, with many carmakers announcing plans to add more electrified models to their line-ups in the years ahead. BMW is no different, but its strategy intends to be as inclusive to as many of its customers as possible.
The Bavarian carmaker intends to have 50 percent of its line-up to be made up of electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. While this may seem like a conservative figure as compared to some other carmakers who have committed to a full electric line-up, BMW insists that this strategy is the right one for its customers globally.
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BMW reasons that as it sells cars in 150 countries worldwide, and the rate of infrastructure development for EVs will vary greatly across regions globally, there will still be residual demand for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in some markets.
There’s no firm commitment from BMW to go 100 percent electric yet, but for markets that are on its way towards adopting electrification but are not quite as advanced in their infrastructure development yet, plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) can help to bridge the gap.
For markets that are already well advanced in their EV infrastructure development however, BMW is ready for them too. Indeed, BMW was among the first to roll out a mass production EV when it unveiled the i3 in 2012, and it has followed that up with the iX3 SUV, which has received much acclaim following its global launch this year.
And it is not stopping there. The next EVs to join the BMW line-up are the i4, and the iX. Like the iX3, the i4 and iX are designed to bring the BMW driving experience to those who are prepared to embrace electrification in their motoring lives.
As David Ferrufino Camacho, project leader of the BMW i4, states, every car that emerges from the Bavarian carmaker has to be a BMW first. Ultimately, regardless of its method of propulsion, every BMW has to offer the same kind of driver engagement and impeccable quality that has characterised the brand through the decades.
To that end, Camacho and his team has had to come up with innovative solutions in order to make cars like the i4 retain the BMW essence while still making it an effective EV. The batteries, for instance, are specially developed for the car, and are designed to be low and flat, giving the i4 a low centre of gravity and therefore minimising any disruption to the car’s handling capabilities.
Durability is also a key concern as well, and BMW says that the batteries for its EVs are developed to last for the effective lifetime of the car. The batteries are also engineered such that single cells can be replace in cases of failures, instead of having to replace the entire battery pack.
BMW claims that having sold 200,000 units of the i3 worldwide so far, it has not encountered a single case where the battery has had to be replaced due to long term wear and tear, and it is confident of replicating this success rate for its future EV models.
The i4 and iX are just the beginning of BMW’s electrification journey however, and expect more EVs to emerge from Munich in the years ahead. Camacho reveals that enthusiasts can expect a high performance full fat i4 M to emerge soon. Meanwhile, Johann Kistler, project leader for the BMW iX, says that the large luxury SUV will form a base for a future electric 7 Series-sized electric limo, while an iX1 small SUV is also in the works.
Both the i4 and iX will serve as a sort of starting toolkit and blueprint for BMW’s future electrified models, but even if you’re not quite ready for the EV era, BMW will still have something in its line-up to meet your needs. As the carmaker says, flexibility is key, and the idea is to have something that suits everyone, regardless of where they are in their stage of EV development.
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