BMW Group will focus on electric vehicles and automated driving and develop its software and technology services as part of a new strategy for the 100-year-old carmaker.
With its Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, the world’s leading provider of premium products and services for individual mobility is setting out the framework to shape change in the automobile sector. The BMW Group intends to remain the driving force behind premium individual mobility. With a clear focus on people and their environment, the BMW Group aims to deliver solutions that are both ground-breaking and responsible.
“Throughout its 100-year history, the BMW Group has always reinvented itself. As a pioneer of new technologies, the company has shaped change, within both the industry and the world of mobility,” commented Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at the Annual Accounts Press Conference in Munich on Wednesday. “We are setting the standard with our Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, both now and in the future. We will lead the BMW Group into a new era, one in which we will transform and shape both individual mobility and the entire sector in a permanent way.”
The BMW Group sees the changes sweeping across the world of mobility through digitalisation as an excellent opportunity to make mobile life simpler, safer and more convenient, thereby inspiring completely new customer groups. In the coming years, the Group will focus on broadening its technological expertise, expanding the scope ofdigital connectivity between people, vehicles and services and actively strengthening sustainable mobility.
The technological focus will therefore be on consistently achieving further advances in the fields of electric mobility and automated driving. The BMW Group has proved its credentials as a pioneer and visionary driver of innovation with the BMW i brand, of which more than 50,000 vehicles have already been sold, as well as with the latest version of its connected and intelligent flagship BMW 7 Series.
BMW iNEXT as symbol of technology leadership
The BMW Group’s strategy will become driving reality, ushering in the next decade in the form of a revolutionary new BMW i model that will raise premium individual mobility to previously unknown levels. Under the banner of BMW iNEXT, the BMW Group brings new forms of automated driving and digital connectivity together with a new generation of electric mobility, lightweight construction and trailblazing interior design that will set new standards for the customer’s mobility experience.
The leading role of BMW i in terms of development is already being reflected in the increased scale of electrification in other models. The current plug-in hybrids are in their third generation and are technological market leaders. With the fourth generation, the electric range will be extended. Development of the fifth generation, which will bring further progress in all areas is already underway.
This technology transfer is the basis for the plug-in hybrid BMW iPerformance models. From 2016 onwards the BMW Group will have seven models in its range, which will be either purely electrically powered, like the BMW i3, or feature a combination of combustion engine and electric motor as plug-in hybrid solutions. Further models are due to follow in the coming years, including a plug-in hybrid MINI. In addition, the award-winning plug-in hybrid sports car BMW i8 will be added to by an open-top BMW i8 roadster. By the end of 2016, the Group’s electric vehicle portfolio will be expanded to include a BMW i3 that features increased battery capacity and additional range.
The BMW Group also continues to develop hydrogen fuel-cell technology; the current test vehicles achieve a range up to 700 kilometres. The company believes that a variety of drivetrain systems will exist alongside each other in the future. This expectation is fully reflected in the BMW Group’s current vehicle architecture, which includes all conventional and alternative drivetrain systems. This guarantees maximum flexibility at all stages of development and production and, thanks to benefits of scale, is also highly cost efficient.
Project i 2.0 to ensure a leading role in automated driving
The fact that the BMW Group has already made so much progress in e-mobility is largely due to project i, through which the BMW Group established itself as a true pioneer of sustainable mobility. Project i enabled the company to build up the necessary expertise in electric mobility early on, whilst at the same time ensuring it could be realised on an industrial scale.
With project i 2.0, the BMW Group is now following an equally ambitious path with respect to automated and fully networked driving. By bundling the potential opportunities offered by digitalisation, the BMW Group will cement its position as technological leader in this field, too. A clear focus will be placed on high definition digital maps, sensor technology, cloud technology and artificial intelligence, the decisive areas for success in this segment. With the investment in HERE the BMW Group has already secured the availability of high definition maps.
To further extend its lead in the field of automated driving, the BMW Group will be transferring these technologies to other models during the coming years. New sensor technology and more powerful software will allow rapid progress to be made in the field of automated driving; the BMW iNEXT will set a new benchmark in this area.
Digitalisation makes mobile life easier for customers
New technologies not only make driving more comfortable, they also forge the link between the mobility of the future and all other areas of life. Connectivity is the prerequisite for realising this vision – and it is precisely in this field that ConnectedDrive has been setting standards for several years now.
BMW Connected already acts as a personalised companion for our customers, providing a broad array of information to serve their mobility needs. The system becomes increasingly acquainted with the user’s favourite routes and driving habits, thus enabling it to provide warnings of road closures or congestion ahead and suggest alternative routes.
The BMW Group was also quick to recognise the increasing importance of other digital services, making products such as DriveNow, ParkNow and ChargeNow key factors in the BMW Group’s future success. The BMW Group will announce the next steps in enhancing these various services during the current year, consistently and rapidly expanding its mobility services.
Apart from the services it is developing in its own right, the BMW Group is also investing in a number of promising start-ups and service providers via BMW i Ventures. This entity enables the Group to swiftly identify and respond to worldwide mobility trends, a crucial advantage in view of the faster pace of development cycles in the IT sector compared to the automotive world.