BMW set to leave Tesla behind, announces 12 EV models in the next eight years

Also wants to lead the electric revolution with 25 electrified models

BMW announced today its plans for the next eight years. And they are pretty daring.

With a jab directed at the current political shitstorm regarding internal combustion models, BMW's CEO Harald Krüger, laid down the company's plans for electrifying its model range. They call this strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.

In many of the current discussions, the customer’s needs are often ignored. Customer demand cannot be forced. Customer needs must be anticipated and met. Therefore, we do not advocate driving bans and quotas. We believe in convincing offers with modern, efficient and emotional vehicles.
Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG

First, BMW will continue to optimize its combustion engines. But its focus will shift rapidly towards building automated, connected and electrified cars, and towards providing mobility services. The Bavarian company seems to understand it's not a car company, but a mobility one, and acts accordingly. It already offers ten electrified vehicles and will deliver 100,000 electrified cars in 2017 alone.

Next, electrification will cover the entire range of the BMW Group, including Rolls-Royce, MINI, and BMW M cars. The goal is to adapt production and enable the same plants to equip all BMW's models with every drivetrain, be it electric or not. 

The announced goal is to offer 25 electrified vehicles by 2025, out of which 12 will be fully-electric. The first BMW core model – the BMW X3 – will be introduced as a BEV (battery electric vehicle) in 2020. All fully-electric BMWs will belong to the BMW i sub-brand, so this will also apply to the X3 (also see the BMW X7 iPerformance concept here). Another EV will come around the same time. It's a four-door car placed between the current BMW i3 and i8 models. BMW is yet silent about its shape, but it's likely we will see a concept pretty soon.

As the market changes rapidly, BMW's strategy is to cover all its bases. As announced by its CEO, BMW customers will be able to choose between more efficient and cleaner combustion engines, plug-in hybrids and all-electric battery-powered vehicles, on fully flexible architectures and modular systems.

Gen 5 fully-electric drivetrains will be with us in 2021, launched with the BMW iNEXT. Based on a scalable modular system, Gen 5 technologies will also fit into models we are launching today. So we will be able to electrify all of our products – fully or partially – in order to meet demand.
Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG

BMW's BEVs will have up to 700 km (435 miles) of range, while its plug-in hybrids – or “Power PHEVs” will have ranges of up to 100 km (62 miles) and will still be oriented towards performance. All BMW's combustion-powered drives will incorporate 48-volt recuperation systems to minimize fuel consumption in traffic jams.

BMW autonomous cars: jump directly to level 5

One of the most interesting announcements coming from BMW's official statements is the fact that BMW will leap from level 2 autonomous cars directly to level 5. 

That’s because autonomous driving requires the full range of factors: system leaps, additional redundancy requirements, computing power, and connectivity. This is why we are preparing to offer highly autonomous driving by 2021, when
the iNEXT is launched – wherever legislation allows it. And based on this, we will implement – again fully flexible – levels 3 to 5 in our vehicle range.
Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG

It seems that autonomous driving is not a technology matter anymore, but a legal one. It remains to be seen if countries will manage to update their legislation as fast as carmakers are pushing for the ultimate level of self-driving capabilities.

You can read everything we know about BMW's autonomous driving plans in our interview with the guys actually working on this technology.

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