BMW wants to achieve its electrification target two years earlier than initially planned – and is thus confirming corresponding reports. Besides, the Munich company is showing what the electric future should look like with two new concept vehicles.
The number of 25 electrified models previously announced for 2025 will now be available as early as 2023, two years earlier. So far, there has been talk of “more than twelve” all-electric models, but now there are to be more than half of them – the ratio between plug-in hybrids, and electric cars is therefore slightly tilted in the direction of all-electric. Given of course, that they would hardly build 12.5 electric vehicles, so even 13 is not far off the initially announced target.
“Over the past two years, we have consistently taken numerous decisions that we are now bringing to the roads,” says BMW CEO Harald Krüger. He added that “by 2021, we will have doubled our sales of electrified vehicles compared with 2019”. Sales of electrified vehicles are expected to rise by more than 30% each year. BMW thus confirmed reports from Monday.
When asked why the target was moved forward two years, BMW’s head of development Klaus Fröhlich said “the decision to pull forward the production dates is simply driven by customer demand growing faster than expected”.
Krüger also announced that from 2020 he would exclusively purchase electricity from renewable energy sources for all BMW locations around the world. Also, the announced iX3 will be equipped with electric motors that do not require rare earth metals. BMW is currently trialling the drives in a test vehicle called Power BEV. BMW has retrofitted a 5 Series with a total of three electric motors (total output 530 kW) for this particularly dynamic electric car.
There is also a plan to set up so-called eDrive Zones, which would force PHEVs to drive using only electrical power in certain areas, such as inner cities. This would be out of control of the driver via geofencing ensuring that urban areas won’t be hit quite as hard by the emissions of their residents. Using a GPS, the vehicle would autonomously recognise where it is and accordingly switch up the motor use. BMW has explained that a more measured step towards electrification makes economic sense, while critics have noted that the company may only be attempting to lengthen the life span of their combustion motors. Either way, a test in Rotterdam with 50 drivers, where an app reminded them to switch over to electric driving modes manually, showed a 90% electric drive rate within the city limits, given the vehicle was connected to the app.
The vehicles for the eDrive Zones include the plug-in hybrids that the group presented at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of the year – the 3-series, 7-series, X5 and X3. The PHEV versions of the 5 Series and 2 Series Active Tourer will receive a technical update this summer, followed by the X1 and 3 Series Touring as plug-in hybrids next year.
The plug-in fleet could soon be supplemented by a more sportive model when it goes into series production. BMW presented the Vision M NEXT recently, which shows how they imagine a future with driving dynamics. “Where the BMW Vision iNEXT illustrated how autonomous driving is set to transform life on board our vehicles, the BMW Vision M NEXT demonstrates how state-of-the-art technology can also make the experience of driving yourself purer and more emotionally engaging,” says BMW chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk.
The M NEXT looks like a mixture of a BMW i8 and the classic M1. A four-cylinder petrol engine powers the rear axle, while an electric motor can be switched on at the front axle – BMW speaks of “electric all-wheel drive”. The system’s output should be 441 kW and enable sportive performances (top speed 300 km/h, acceleration 0-100 km/h in less than three seconds). The range in purely electric driving mode is up to 100 km – in most cases enough to cover most journeys purely electrically.
Besides, the Munich-based company also offers a view of an electric motorcycle. With the C Zero, BMW already has an electric scooter on offer. With the “Vision DC Roadster”, the designers now want to sound out what a BMW motorcycle with an electric drive could look like. Although not technically necessary, the naked bike suggests, for example, the classic BMW boxer engine with its striking cooling fins.
A decision regarding serial production of the concept models has yet to fall, but it seems that BMW’s board of management is starting to hear the wake-up call.