BMW Group said it will offer all electric versions of its next generation BMW X3 compact SUV and electric Mini models, expanding its entries in the emerging electric luxury vehicle market.
Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger told Bloomberg that the all-electric Mini would be market-ready by 2019 and the X3 SUV would be a 2020 vehicle.
Reuters reported on Sept. 9 that BMW’s top executives had been resistant to the idea of building an electric Mini-brand car. Minis have a smaller profit margin than BMW-brand cars, they argued, and the investment costs of building an all-electric vehicle are considerable. A few executives felt that BMW should push ahead in the electric vehicle field, but after the weak US performance of the i3, other bigwigs were apparently not convinced that committing additional investment to purely electric cars would make financial sense.
BMW moved earlier than its German rivals to field innovative electric cars, launching the BMW i3 battery-powered city car in 2013 with a lightweight body made of carbon fiber instead of steel or aluminum. However, the i3 and the plug-in hybrid i8 have been slow sellers.
Meanwhile, Tesla is aiming for sales of 80,000 or more electric sedans and sport utility vehicles this year, and has said that nearly 400,000 would-be buyers have placed reservations for its Model 3 sedan. Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has said he is targeting a July 2017 launch for the Model 3.