BMW throws the switch to smart and electric mobility

March 16, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A new electric luxury car model, a gradual move towards electric powertrains and more smart connectivity in mobility are the goals of carmaker BMW for the years ahead. At the opportunity of the company’s annual financial statements press conference, BMW CEO Harald Krüger set the course. Even the venerable MINI product line won’t get away unchanged.

The Bavarian carmaker who recently celebrated its 100 th birthday seems to be willing to step into the ring against e-car market leader Tesla: Krüger announced that BMW will develop a new electric vehicle that will complement the not-so-successful i3 electric compact at the high end of BMW’s product spectrum. The iNEXT will enable sophisticated levels of automated driving and digital connectivity as well as innovations in interior design and lightweight construction, Krüger announced. The iNEXT is already in development; however, it won’t be available before the beginning of the next decade. In the short term, the i3 will get a new battery for a higher driving range. For the MINI series, the carmaker is developing a plug-in hybrid model.

 

Krüger also said that BMW is continuing its research on fuel-cell technology. Current prototypes already reach a range of 700 km, comparable to gasoline-driven variants. Krüger said he expects that in the future a diversity of powertrain technologies will coexist though he did not go into details. 

 

In the area of digitisation of, BMW is launching a strategic development project, called i 2.0. With this name it made clear that it has a similar strategic significance as the electrification of the powertrain – project i was the designation of the project dedicated to the development of electric models like the battery electric car i3 and the PHEV i8. For I 2.0, the focus is on the high-precision digital roadmaps required for automated driving, innovative sensors, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. For the development of highly accurate maps, BMW already has made a major investment; jointly with Audi and Daimler, the Bavarians took over Nokia’s digital street map service HERE.

 

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