With more than 350,000 units (over 130,000 fully electric vehicles and more than 220,000 plug-in hybrids) delivered to customers up to the end of 2018, the BMW Group is already a leading supplier of electrified vehicles.
At the beginning of March, the new plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW 3 Series, BMW 7 Series, BMW X5 and BMW X3, which now come with extended electric range, were showcased at the Geneva Motor Show. By the end of next year, the BMW Group will have more than ten new or revised models equipped with fourth-generation electric drivetrain technology (“Gen 4”) on the roads.
By the end of 2019, these will include the all-electric MINI Electric manufactured at the Oxford plant and, from 2020, the BMW iX3, which will be produced for the world market in Shenyang, China. Together with the BMW i3, the BMW i4 and the BMW iNEXT, the Group will have five all-electric models on the market by 2021 and the number is scheduled to rise to at least twelve models by 2025. Including the rapidly growing range of plug-in hybrids, the BMW Group’s product portfolio will then comprise at least 25 electrified models.
This wide range of electrified models on offer will be made possible by highly flexible vehicle architectures and an equally agile global production system. Going forward, the BMW Group will be capable of manufacturing models with all-electric (BEV), hybrid-electric (PHEV) and conventional (ICE) drivetrains on one production line. The ability to integrate e-mobility in its production network will enable the BMW Group to respond even more flexibly as demand grows. In 2018, the BMW Group delivered more than 140,000 electrified vehicles to customers. By the end of this year, the company expects to have an overall total of more than half a million electrified vehicles on the roads.
The BMW Group is currently developing the fifth generation of its electric drivetrain, in which the interplay of electric motor, transmission, power electronics and battery will be further optimised. Integrating the electric motor, the transmission and power electronics also plays a role in cutting costs. Furthermore, the electric motor does not require rare earths, enabling the BMW Group to reduce its dependence on their availability. The fifth generation of the Group’s electric drivetrain technology will be installed for the first time in the BMW iX3 from 2020.
Cooperation for next generation of autonomous driving
The BMW Group believes long-term partnerships within a flexible, scalable, non-exclusive platform are key to advancing the industrialisation of autonomous driving. As early as 2016, the BMW Group established a non-exclusive platform with technology specialists, suppliers and OEMs to take the technology to series maturity and has now successfully consolidated work in this area at the Autonomous Driving Campus in Unterschleißheim, near Munich. The generation of technologies currently under development will go into series production as Level 3 automation in the BMW iNEXT in 2021, this vehicle will also be Level 4-enabled for pilot projects.
The BMW Group has joined forces with Daimler AG to advance the development of the next generation of technologies needed for autonomous driving. At the end of February, the two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly develop the technologies that are vital for future mobility. Initially, the focus will be on advancing the development of next-generation technologies for driver assistance systems, automated driving on highways and parking features (in each case up to SAE Level 4).
The BMW Group and Daimler AG view their partnership as a long-term, strategic cooperation and aim to make next-level technologies widely available by the middle of the coming decade. Combining the outstanding expertise of the two companies will boost their joint innovative strength. Moreover, it will both accelerate and streamline the development of future technology generations. The development of current-generation technologies and the ongoing collaborations both companies have in this field will remain unaffected and continue as planned. Both parties will also explore additional partnerships with other technology companies and automotive manufacturers that could contribute to the success of the platform.
Major investments in joint venture for mobility services
The BMW Group and Daimler AG are also working together in the field of mobility services, creating a new global player that provides sustainable urban mobility for its customers. The two companies are investing more than one billion euros to develop and more closely intermesh their offerings for car-sharing, ride-hailing, parking, charging and multimodal transport. The cooperation comprises five joint ventures: REACH NOW (multimodal), CHARGE NOW (charging), FREE NOW (ride-hailing), PARK NOW (parking) and SHARE NOW (car-sharing).
The common vision is clear: the five services will increasingly merge to form a single mobility service portfolio with an all-electric, self-driving fleet of vehicles that charge and park autonomously and also interconnect with other modes of transport. This service portfolio will be a key cornerstone in the BMW Group’s strategy as a mobility provider going forward. The cooperation represents the ideal approach for maximising opportunities in a growing market, while jointly shouldering the unavoidable cost of investment.