BMW ELECTRIC CAR STRATEGY
BMW in its first strategy shift since 2007 is betting that the future of the automotive industry is electric. The company is designing the i-Next, available in 5 years to combat tech upstarts to the sector such as Uber, Tesla and Alphabet developing autonomous cars. The BMW i-series would be the mainstay in the next couple of years with PHEV included in all of the brand’s model ranges. BMW will also invest in fuel cells and expect to have this technology by 2025.
“Visionary BMW i-series electric vehicles lead the way in alternative drivetrains, lightweight construction, and aerodynamics – promising sustainable premium without sacrifice. Their futuristic shapes and forms combine renewable and recycled materials in an inspiring overall design. These products are complemented by BMW i-mobility services, such as DriveNow, ChargeNow and ParkNow.” BMW
BMW has changed strategy in 2017 away from the i-series to having BEV and PHEV versions of current model ranges, thereby scraping the development of the exciting the BMW i5 scheduled for release in 2020. In September 2017 BMW announced that it will produce 25 electric vehicles by 2025 of which 12 will be fully electric.
Read our in-depth comparison of the Daimler vs BMW EV strategy for further insights on future BMW EV modules.
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BMW EV SALES
The sales data above shows BMW’s EV sales in the top 10 EV markets for 2017. Go to our detailed breakdown of Global EV Sales to see how the BMW EV strategy fares to its competitors in the fast-growing EV market.
BMW ELECTRIC CARS IN THE NEWS
2018 Week 28 - Eeuropean Automakers scramble for China
I mentioned in Week 27 that European automakers are spending seven times on EV development in China than locally, of which proof is abundant this week.
BMW took advantage of the recent relaxation of ownership restrictions on international automakers in Chinese ventures. The German automaker is set to be the first majority foreign-owned car company in China. Although no specifics were announced it is rumored that BMW will up its stake in BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) to 75%. Stocks for Brilliance Automotive trading on the Hong Kong Exchange dropped over 12.5% on the back of the news. Brilliance stock dropped a further 2.8% at the end the week when BMW and Great Wall Motors announced a 50/50 JV to build the new Mini EV. The EV specific JV will be capitalized with $760 million (5.1 billion yuan) and have a capacity of 160,000 units at a plant in Jiangsu Province. The JV is named “Spotlight Automotive Limited”, which sound like a bad Google translation from Mandarin.
During a visit by China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang to Germany BMW Group and Brilliance Automotive signed a long-term framework agreement to further expand the BBA JV. According to the agreement, the JV will increase the capacity of its plants at Tiexi and Dadong in Shenyang, Liaoning Province to 520,000 by 2019.
Providing further clarity on BMW’s announcement at the Beijing Auto Show that the new BMW iX3 EV SUV would be produced in China. Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG said at the signing:
“Today’s signing represents a new chapter in the success story of our BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture. Our agreement sets a long-term framework for our future in China – a future involving continued investment, further growth and a clear commitment to the development and production of electric vehicles. The next chapter of our cooperation has the potential to go beyond our existing motto – in China, for China. The all-electric BMW iX3, produced by BBA from 2020, will find customers around the world.”
The closer German Sino relationship that is forming due to the alienation of the USA does not spare BMW’s models exported from the US-based Spartanburg, S.C plant where the X5 xDrive 40e is assembled. BMW announced this week that it would not be able to absorb the 25% penalty tariff enforced on US imports to China from the 6th of July 2018.
2018 Week 23 - BMW among worst performing PHEVs
2018 Week 21 - BMW iSeries production increased to cope with demand
I have referred a couple of times this year on the shortage of EVs leading to long waiting times for EV buyers. BMW announced the investment of a further €300 million in its Leipzig plant to increase the annual production from 250,000 units per annum to 350,000 by 2020. The ramp-up will start from this year as the production moves from 130 units a day to 200 as the company responds to increased demand and competition from Tesla which is now building 5,000 Model 3’s per week. I made a statement at a recent presentation that although EV sales are low relative to combustion vehicles it is actually high if one considers the little effort that is done in marketing or production of EVs, showing a clear shift towards the technology.
The plant extension in Leipzig will result in a 300m extension of the plant to cover a total area of 11,950m² and include improvements to the paint shop, body shop and adding robots in the assembly process.
2018 Week 20 - BMW AGM reveales iNEXT vision
BMW unveiled a teaser image of the BMW iNEXT which is expected in 2021 during its annual AGM held this week. The iNEXT which will be assembled at the Dingolfing plant in Germany and combines all the strategic areas into a production model.
Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said: “The iNEXT project is our building kit for the future. It will benefit the entire company and all our brands. For the first time, we are combining all key technologies for future mobility in one vehicle. The iNEXT is fully electric, fully connected and also offers highly automated driving. Today, we gave our shareholders a very first glimpse of the design of the BMW iNEXT. Later this year, we will be presenting the BMW iNEXT as a Vision Vehicle.”
BMW’s push for mass-market EVs shifts into second gear next year when the company launches an electric Mini, the first model outside the i-series which would include an electric drivetrain. BMW and Great Wall Motors are still in discussions regarding the production of the Mini in China. According to recent reports Mr. Harald Krüger was quoted at the Beijing Auto Show that negotiations are going well.
BMW’s EV related sales reached a milestone in April 2018 as the automaker now has over 250k of its electrified models on the world’s roads. Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Sales and Brand BMW, Pieter Nota said “Combined sales of BMW i, BMW iPerformance and MINI Electric vehicles were up 52% in April (9,831), bringing the total number of electrified BMW Group cars sold to over 250,000,” Nota continued. “We are well on track to deliver on our stated target to sell over 140,000 electrified vehicles this year,” he concluded.
In the first four months of the year, BMW Group Electrified sales totalled 36,692 units, up 41.7% on the same period last year. This considerable growth in electrified sales was spread across many markets, including USA (7,716 / +73.3%), the UK (5,059 / +25.6%) and Mainland China (3,181 / +646.7%). The result in China is due to the success of the recently launched, locally produced BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid. In April, electrified vehicles accounted for 5% of global BMW Group sales, although in certain markets, that percentage is much higher. For example, in the UK, 9.0 % of all BMW Group sales are electrified, in the USA it’s 7.3%. In the mature Scandinavian markets, over a quarter of all BMW Group sales are electrified and in Malaysia, electrified vehicles accounted for more than half of BMW Group sales in April. The main models driving electrified sales growth in April were the BMW 5 Series plug-in hybrid (2,670 / +711.6%), the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid (1,578 / +45.8%) (fuel consumption combined: 3,4-3,3 l/100 km; electricity consumption combined: 15,4-15,3 kWh/100 km; CO2 emissions combined: 78-77 g/km) and the BMW i3 (2,665 / +18.3%).
2017 Week 48 - LA Auto Show wrap-up
The Los Angeles Auto Show kicked off this week with an onslaught by German brands BMW, Daimler and VW showing off their current and future EVs. German automakers are under huge pressure to catch up to Tesla, with Porsche admitting this week that it is losing clients to the US-based leader in the EV market. BMW brought the BMW iVision, Concept X7 iPerformance, 2019 BMW i8 Roadster (in the cover picture), BMW i3S, and Mini Electric Concept to the LA Show.
The 2019 BMW i8 Roadster achieves an electric range of up to 18 miles from an 11.6kWh battery and can reach a top speed of 155 mph from its 228 horsepower 1.5 liter three-cylinder engine. The 2019 i8 Roadster gets an improved electric motor of 141 horsepower adding up to a total output of 369 horsepower to accelerate to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds.
The BMW iVision, which is expected to come to market as the i5 in 2021, has an NEDC range of 373 miles (600km) at a top speed of 125mph and promises acceleration of 0 – 62 in 4 seconds with at least Level 4 autonomy.
2017 Week 48 - BMW looking to secure cobalt supply
A UBS auto survey this week predicts that 16% of vehicles on the road in 2025 to be EVs. The forecast is up 2% from the previous estimated with 16.5 million of all cars sold in the middle of the next decade being electric. The report expects Europe to lead the adoption of EVs, where it is expected that EVs would constitute 30% of the total market. The UBS survey puts Tesla at the front of the race with BMW the biggest loser. In fact, most brands lost ground in the latest survey. The position on BMW confirms wattEV2buy’s analysis earlier the year of the German auto manufacturers EV strategy.
As the race in EV production hots up, manufacturers are rushing to secure the supply of rare resources such as cobalt which jumped from $10/lb in 2015 to around $30/lb recently. German manufacturers BMW and VW are stepping up efforts to secure the supply of the rare mineral of which 65% is mined in the volatile Democratic Republic of Congo. According to a Bloomberg report, BMW needs to determine its ability to supply materials before it decides on producing its own batteries. VW’s first talks with cobalt suppliers ended with no deal reached according to Reuters. VW invited Glencore, China’s Huayou Cobalt, commodity trader Traxys, U.S. miner Freeport-McMoran and Eurasian Resources Group (ERG) to its Wolfsburg headquarters in an attempt to secure supply of cobalt at a fixed price for its €34 billion EV plan announced in November 2017.
Read our report on cobalt and other minerals required for EV batteries.
2017 Week 45 - BMW to unveil new electric vehicle in Los Angeles
BMW announced the world premiere of a new electric vehicle during the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. The German automaker committed to bringing 12 pure electric vehicles and 13 PHEV to market by 2025. The press conference for the unveiling will be on the 29th of November at 8:50 AM. The company gave no further information on the new vehicle. BMW will also unveil the BMW i-Vision Dynamics Concept, the Mini Concept and the new BMW i3S to the US market.
The BMW i-Vision is a pure-electric four-door Gran Coupe with a range of 373 miles and a top speed of 120 mph. The Mini Electric Concept which would pave the way for the production model expected by 2019. The BMW i3S, a sportier interpretation of the BMW i3 would be available in the US market after the launch in November. Although there is talk of a bigger 120Ah battery for longer range the BMW i3S launched in November 2017 will still have the 94Ah battery of the current BMW i3 but more power through its 184hp electric motor delivering 199lb-ft of torque. The greater power of the BMW i3S will see it accelerate from 0 – 60mph in 6.8 seconds with a top speed of 100mph.
2017 Week 38 - BMW unveils its EV vision car to compete with Tesla
According to BMW Blog, BMW will upgrade the facelifted BMW i3 shown at the Frankfurt Auto Show earlier this month, with a 120Ah battery in 2018, up from the current 94Ah. The upgrade will be the third since the launch of the popular electric vehicle which has sold close to 100,000 units internationally since 2014. Sales of the BMW i3 has, however, reach a plateau from its high in 2015 as lower-priced EVs with longer ranges encroaches on the BMW i3. The upgrade, according to BMW Blog, will consist of a 42.5kWh battery, from Samsung SDI we assume. The BMW i3 facelift will also be available in a 3rd model variant in addition to the REx, the BMW i3s. The BMW i3s offers better driving dynamics.
2017 Week 38 - BMW earmarks cost savings to fund EV development
Head of purchasing, Markus Duesmann, at BMW told Automotive News in an interview that BMW will divert 2 million Euro from its parts bill to fund its electrification efforts. BMW has been grappling with the high cost of R&D required to shift to EVs and has announced lower returns because thereof earlier this year. Mr. Duesmann indicated that so much as 5% of the company’s spending on parts would be diverted to electrification, signaling possible pain for suppliers downstream.
2017 Week 37 - BMW unveils its EV vision car to compete with Tesla
2017 Week 37 - BMW updates its EV strategy
BMW announced that it will produce 25 electric vehicles by 2025 of which 12 will be fully electric.
2017 Week 34 - BMW to unveil 2018 BMW i8 Roadster and BMW i3S Performance
As we enter September in the coming week we look forward to the release/unveiling of the following Evs:
- September 6, the worldwide launch of the new version of the worlds top selling EV, the Nissan Leaf, which is already dubbed in chat rooms as the ‘300-mile Leaf‘ based on rumors about its range.
- September 14, Frankfurt Auto Show, will see the unveiling of the 2018 BMW i3S Performance and 2018 BMW i8 Roadster.
- September will also see the unveiling of the ~200-mile Tesla Semi truck.
2017 Week 29 - BMWs Oxford plant to produce BEV Mini
We reported in March that BMW was considering Mini as an EV only brand, with the Mini being its answer to Tesla and Chevrolet‘s mass-market cars, the Model 3 and Bolt EV. At the time BMW CEO, Harald Krüger was quoted that the company is considering manufacturing facilities for the Mini in Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. Reuters this week reported that unconfirmed sources indicated that the UK would be the winner in the race for producing a fully electric Mini. The BMW plant in Oxford is responsible for 60% of the Groups compact cars, but in the aftermath of BREXIT, the German automaker established the Netherlands as an alternative manufacturing base. The report indicates that the final desition will be announced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.
2017 Week 21 - BMW reportedly changed EV strategy
“Our Strategy Number One Next is centred on consequent lightweight construction, alternative drivetrain technology, connectivity, autonomous driving functions and the interior of the future. The iNext will set the standard from 2021″
Unconfirmed online reports this week claimed that BMW would not pursue the development of the BMW i5 as its mass-market answer to the Tesla Model 3, but rather follow other carmakers such as Hyundai and Citroën, by offering electric options across existing ranges so that customers can choose a gasoline model or an electric model.
The reason for the change of heart is that the cost associated with the specialized chassis systems of the i8 and i3 makes it unsuitable for high volume production. In March BMW’s reported its lowest profitability since 2010 on the back of spending on technologies to compete with its rivals in the electrification and autonomous sectors.
The following statement by Harald Kreuger this week, “The all-electric MINI and the all-electric BMW X3 will mark the beginning of the second wave of electrification for the BMW Group, benefit from the ongoing technological progress we are making in this area.” is seen to support the reports that the company is having a rethink on its EV Next strategy.
BMW’s change of direction will set it on a different course than its competitor in the luxury car market, Daimler, which has set an aggressive strategy to develop a separate brand to establish a market lead in the e-mobility sector.
The BMW strategy now seems to focus on finding the least cost route of adding batteries to existing models to produce vehicles for consumer’s increasing appetite for electric cars. Adding batteries to combustion vehicles is seen as a cop-out as consumers will be better served by buying electric vehicles built from the ground up around the technology.
2017 Week 18 - EVs now 3% of BMWs sales
BMW this week released its sales data for the first quarter 2017, showing that EVs now constitute 3% of its total sales as EV sales jumped 50%. The Chairman of the Board, Mr. Harald Kruger was quoted saying “We are therefore well on course to delivering more than 100,000 electrified vehicles for the first time in 2017”. The company also announced that it would start producing it iNext autonomous brand at its Dingolfing plant form 2021. Other models expected from the German automaker is the i8 Roadster PHEV (2018), a BEV Mini (2019), and a BEV X3 (2020). The news from BMW is in stark contrast from news only six months earlier when the Board grappled with if it should pursue EVs at all (Top 5 EV News Week 49 2016).
2017 Week 6 - BMW at the Chicago Auto Show
The Chicago Auto Show kicked off this week, sporting the highest number of electric vehicle technologies on display in the Show’s history. Vehicles on display include BMW’s i8, the Mini Cooper Countryman PHEV , and Ford’s Fusion Energi PHEV. It’s wattEV2Buy’s observation though that with the lack of inspiring and game-changing technologies the Chicago Show underscore that Big Auto is still not getting boots and all behind the technology. Reading between the lines, we see big auto focusing more on autonomous vehicles than electric drive trains as it’s future strategy.
2016 Week 50 - BMW 530e i Performance launched for the USA market
BMW announced the launch of BMW 530e i Performance for the US market. A Plug-In Hybrid version of the 530 model was previously only available for the Chinese market through the BMW Brilliance franchise as a long-wheelbase luxury sedan, the BMW Brilliance BMW 530Le. The fourth member of the iPerformance range, the 2018 BMW530e will be available to the US market in the spring of 2017. The vehicle has a 95hp electric motor on the rear wheels, providing a maximum torque of 184lb.ft and a combined peak torque of 310lb.ft enabling acceleration from 0-60mph in 6.1 seconds and a top speed 130mph / 208kh/h. The 9,2kWh lithium battery is placed under the rear seats and can be charged in under 7 hours on Level 1 charging while Level 2 Charge through a 3.6kW – 7.2kW BMW Charging Station in under 3 hours. The 530e has an electric top speed of 87mph / 139km/h in its MAX eDrive mode. The automaker did not specify an electric range or suggested retail price.
2016 Week 49 - BMW Downbeat on EVs
Despite BMW’s reaffirming its strategy to pursue the development of electric vehicles at its September board meeting, the company remains downbeat on the sector. BMW’s Chief Financial Officer, Frederick Eichner, was quoted by Bloomberg saying “We’ve learned that people aren’t prepared to pay a higher price for an electric vehicle. I don’t see some kind of disruptive element coming from electric cars that would prompt sales to go up quickly in the next five to six years.”
2016 Week 48 - BMW i3 and BMW unveils new charging service
- BMW unveiled its new BMW Digital Charging Service (DCS) optimizes charging technology for the BMW i and BMW iPerformance vehicles through the BMW i Wallbox. The DCS platform provides autonomous and intelligent charging optimization through tariff and solar vehicle charging. The DCS service will initially be available for the German and Dutch markets from early 2017.In other news, BMW announced that it would release a new version of the BMW i3 in 2017. Reuters reported that the automaker expects the 2018 model of the BMW i3 to have a range well above the current 300km of the 2017 model, which is already a 50% increase on the 2016 model.
2016 Week 44 - EV Charging Corridors
Reuters reported on an announcement by the White House that it will establish 48 EV Charging corridors, comprising 25,000 miles across 35 States with the support of Utilities and vehicle manufacturers. The initiative will allow for charging stations every 50 miles. The press release goes further by identifying specific State programs to support the adoption of electric vehicles, including California’s commitment to have 5% of all public parking to include charging stations. Car manufacturers supporting the initiative includes BMW, Nissan, and GM.
2016 Week 39 - EV Strategy, Paris Auto Show
BMW was the exception to the rule at the Pais Auto Show; disappointingly the company had no new models or battery upgrades to announce, the only improvement they could muster was to introduce a new color Cross Fade paint option. As reported earlier the board was to meet at the same time as the event, and a restructuring is expected which would influence its electric vehicle path. At the time of going to press the only news that was released was the confirmation that BMW will introduce all-electric versions of the Mini, the BMW 3 Series, and the X4 SUV range.
2016 Week 37 - EV Strategy, new vehicle
In last week’s report, we mentioned that the BMW executive would miss this year’s Paris auto show held at the end of September to vote on the automaker’s electric vehicle future after the company lost momentum to its rivals, Mercedes and VW. Further news of this extraordinary move is that the company will announce the release of three new electric vehicles, the Mini, the BMW 3 Series and the X4 SUV. It is imperative that the automaker sets a clear strategy to remain relevant in the sector, already VW has released teasers of its new long-range electric vehicle which would introduce at the Paris auto show. Longtime rival Daimler is also expected to introduce its new electric vehicle sub-brand at the end of the month.
2016 Week 36 - EV Strategy
Reuters reported on Friday that the executive of BMW will not attend this year’s Paris Auto Show as it grapples with its electric car strategy. The company lost momentum against Mercedes and VW who is chasing Tesla. The lack of momentum caused the head of the BMW i8 project to jump ship to Future Mobility, taking most of the core team with him. The executive team is split on the future of electric vehicles and investing in what is initially a loss making exercise. The top executive team traditionally attend the Paris Auto Show, which is one of the most prestigious events in the industry.
2016 Week 31 - July USA Sales/ Atieva race
Sales of the BMW i3 jumped 58% in the USA year-on-year as it sold nearly 1,500 units in July compared to 935 for the same period last year. Significant is that this is so despite the expected release of the 2017 model with a larger battery capacity and range later this year.
The San Francisco-based startup, Atieva this week posted the results of the latest test of its drivetrain, breaking the 1/4 mile 0 – 60 in under 3 seconds. The company uploaded a video of EDNA, its drivetrain built into a Mercedes Van beating a Dodge Viper and a BMW i8.
2016 Week 26 - June Sales USA
USA EV sales figures for June 2016 released this week included Nissan and BMW data. Nissan Leaf sales are down 47% for the year to date. BMW announced the i3 had a 10.3% rise in June 2015, yet the model still lags 35% for the year to date. The i8 showed a massive 23% gain compared to June 2015 and is down 15% for the year to date.
2016 Week 25 - Residential Storage 2nd life batteries
BMW announced that it would follow Daimler, Nissan, and Tesla in creating second life energy storage systems for residential and commercial use. Second life battery systems would not have the same warranties as new systems. The advantages include the lower replacement cost of battery packs and less recycling associated cost to the environment.
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