BMW’s Electric Future for 2019

BMW’s i sub-brand launched the i3, a full-electric city car with an ultra-lightweight carbon fiber frame, in 2013. BMW showed that it will continue to push the sub brand to new levels when it previewed the iNext, in September 2018. Robert Irlinger, the head of the sub brand was recently interviewed about BMW’s electrification strategy. He disclosed that they announced four BMW electric models and one Mini. Which entails that there are seven battery-electric models still to come. He hopes to increase the distribution of their volumes across the brands while also covering the segments according to customer demands as much as possible. With the new iX3, they will expand into the compact SUV segment, the i4 is a compact sedan with a coupe like look and the iNext will roughly has the dimensions of an X5. These are all volume segments BMW is entering since the demand for electric vehicles is growing, governments will support them and the infrastructure is expanding. They changed strategy because they felt the customers want them to bring electrification across a broad range of our models. Irlinger also discusses the i3 letdown by stating that they were going through the learning process. He expresses how they started with a range of 80-99 miles in everyday conditions and thought that was enough since they originally positioned the car for urban mobility. However, the customer had a mindset that more range would be better, so they decided it was necessary to bring a second battery update relatively quickly. The first update brought 50 percent more range with the 94-amp-hour cells, and the 120-amp-hour cells now add another 30 percent on top. Car buyers continue to ask for more range at present. Although, there could come a time when they say, for example, 600 km under WLTP rules is sufficient. Then maybe the sub brand won’t need to come with an update at all. However, if customers want 500 mph and our competitors respond, then they would have to adapt appropriately.