BMW is making a serious investment in electric vehicle range.
German automaker BMW recently held their annual investors' press conference where they both recapped their 2017 performance and outlined their direction for the next several years. All the big BMW names made statements, from board chairman Harald Krüger to BMW group financier Dr. Nicolas Peter. Most of it is boring financial talk, but there were a few bombshells dropped in the meeting.
The biggest news is certainly how much BMW plans to expand their lineup of electric and hybrid cars. By 2025, BMW plans to offer 25 hybrid and electric cars, expanding from their current offering of the i3 electric car and the upcoming i8 coupe.
That expansion is already well underway. The all-electric iX3 crossover is currently in development and plans to go on sale by 2020. The i8 roadster slash coupe will be coming out in May of this year, which will provide a plug-in hybrid sports car to BMW’s lineup.
But it’s the range on BMW’s electric cars that will truly become astounding. BMW is investing $8.6 billion in research and development, and by the year 2021 they plan to release electric cars with a range of 435 miles. Plug-in hybrids will have an operational range of 62 miles, which will allow their drivers to get to and from work without using a drop of gas.
The upcoming i4 and iNEXT electric cars are both touted to offer a 435-mile range. The BMW i4 is largely seen as an answer to Tesla’s Model S and Model 3 electric sedans, while the iNEXT will offer a completely different driving experience.
The iNEXT, which launches in 2021, will have fully autonomous level 5 self-driving technology. This means the car will be able to take you to and from your destination without any user input besides tell it where to go. BMW also plans to make it "a future-proof, scalable modular system" which will serve as a platform for their future cars.
BMW also plans to get into driving as a service. They’ve purchased DriveNow, a micro-rental car-sharing company, as well as Parkmobile LLC, a digital parking company. This will allow BMW to offer a ride-sharing program to rival every other major player currently in the market.
If there’s anyone to say where the future of cars is headed, BMW is certainly a voice to be heard.