News of Daimler and BMW moving closer together when it comes to electric vehicles has been updated today. A new report suggests that BMW is intending to share an i2 electric car with its neighbouring rival – possibly from 2024.
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Talks between the two southern German carmakers have allegedly been ongoing some time. However, with the new push for electric mobility, the German publication Manager Magazin has added some detail on what is going on behind the scenes.
According to the report, BMW is ready to look into developing electric vehicles together as previously suggested. However, they want to share only one vehicle for now, and a small and not so new one at that. According to sources, BMW’s head of development Klaus Fröhlich is prepared to share the architecture for a small EV, dubbed the i2. It could build on BMW’s existing (and so far only) electric vehicle, the i3, but do away with the expensive carbon body to reach an affordable price point. Talk has been of less than 30,000 euros. Additional cost savings could be made not only by sharing the platform and using less expensive material but also with a smaller battery. The i2 would aim for a range of 300 kilometres.
Witnesses to the talks at Daimler were surprised by the somewhat radical approach of their BMW colleagues, says Manager Magazin but the clear aim seems to be making money with those electric cars. Allegedly, a savings potential of more than seven billion euros each is being proclaimed. From Daimler’s side, they’d like to sell half a million of these EVs, and market launch in 2024 has been discussed.
How these small car plans fit in with Daimler’s stance on Smart (or not) is not yet clear. What is becoming more and more certain though is that a collaboration would clearly benefit both Daimler and BMW, especially in times when Volkswagen has remembered its identity as volume manufacturer of now increasingly electric cars. Also, changes at Daimler are driving the cooperation – notably with Mercedes’ development director Ola Källenius about to take over from Dieter Zetsche as the new Daimler boss in May. He will have to make considerable cost savings, so sharing electric vehicle development could be a good start. Still, the trick will be to find distinguishing features as both brands are essentially competing for the same buyers’ segment.
Update 03.04.2019: According to new media reports, Daimler and BMW are restricting the planned cooperation to the joint development of electric cars. Instead of a cooperation for the entire model range, the partners are now negotiating the construction of a compact electric car on a common platform, which is to be produced in China. According to the confidential release, this project is already be described in some detail. They are aiming for an electric car in the price range between 27,500 and 32,500 euros, with a four-door sedan in the BMW 1 Series and Mercedes-Benz A-Class format as a body variant. The BEV could possibly enter the market by 2024.