BMW looks to the future

BMW has discussed its ongoing commitment to, and the financial implications of, adapting to an emissions-free mobility future – and it has confirmed a forthcoming all-electric 7 Series…

The Chairman of the Board of Management at BMW AG, Oliver Zipse, has outlined how the brand is embracing the changing face of the automotive industry. Achieving CO2 targets has been high on the agenda for some time, BMW Efficient Dynamics technologies have been around since 2007, but in its more contemporary guise the movement has certainly promoted the ongoing electrification of vehicles. The move to systematically electrify the BMW model range pushes ahead and, as it is constantly reminding us, by the end of 2021, BMW intends to have more than one million all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles on the roads.

BMW looks to the future

BMW looks to the future

BMW revealed that over the past eight years, 46,000 employees have received training in the field of electric mobility. Working hand-in-hand with that comes the growing importance of software know-how, believe it or not the BMW Group is one of the largest IT employers in Germany – 5,300 BMW employees have been trained in data analytics.

Interestingly, since the start of 2020 BMW has been personally procuring the required cobalt and lithium raw materials required to action its plans, passing resources on to battery cell manufacturers. A benefit of the Performance > NEXT programme launched in 2017 is money saving. BMW expects to make efficiency savings in excess of 12 billion Euros by the end of 2022, but also a reduction in timescale of new model development times – reduced by as much as one third. Platform engineering, which is now common practice in the automotive industry, will clearly play its part in this. BMW says that up to 50 percent of its traditional drivetrains will be eliminated from 2021 onwards, starting the transition to what it calls ‘intelligent vehicle architectures’ – read electrified drivetrains.

You might also be surprised to learn that BMW aims to have doubled its 2018 sales volume in the luxury segment by the end of this year. And as part of this drive comes the next generation of 7 Series which is set to include an all-electric version. BMW’s flagship vehicle will be available with four different drivetrains; diesel, petrol, electrified plug-in hybrid and, for the first time, all-electric Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV). We are not surprised. By 2023, BMW aims to have 25 electrified models on the roads – more than half of them all-electric.

Making this possible is BMW’s forecast that we’ll see a steep sales growth curve in the run up to 2025, with sales of electrified vehicles growing on average by more than 30 percent per year.

BMW had better be correct, for it has been spending some serious money in research and development. In 2019 alone BMW’s R&D bill for all this totalled €5.9 million, up on 2018’s figure of €5.3 million. Now you might think that the proliferation of electric vehicles would be driving manufacturing costs down. Quite the opposite in fact. BMW says that there has been a rise in the prices of raw materials as manufacturers scrabble to acquire them. All this during testing times for the global economy.

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