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BMW responds to profits dip with an electric assault

Wednesday, 29th May, 2019 4:27pm

BMW, which has seen its car-making operations post their first financial loss in more than a decade this month hit back at its annual general meeting by announcing a major expansion of its electric car lineup.

Speaking at the meeting, BMW’s Chair of the Board, Harald Krüger, announced that four key new battery models will be on sale by 2021.

Those are the new all-electric Mini Cooper S-E, the electric version of the X3 SUV, the iX3 (which will be built in China) and two dedicated electric models — the iNEXT, a battery SUV meant to rival the Audi eTron Quattro and Jaguar I-Pace; and the i4, a four-door coupe with electric only power.

These last two have already been spotted testing in the Arctic circle.

BMW will also lean heavily on its plugin-hybrid lineup, which is due to expand this year with new plugin versions of the 3 Series, 7 Series, and X5 SUV.

“Our market is global. We don’t want to tell people what to do; we want our products to inspire people all over the world. Our flexible electrification strategy underlines this approach and enables us to serve very different regions of the world, as the introduction of alternative drive trains is proceeding at a different pace in different markets,” said Krüger.

“Technological openness is key to being prepared for the regulatory requirements and customer wishes in different markets.”

While plugin-hybrids have come in for criticism in recent times (especially in the UK, where subsidies for such vehicles were withdrawn on the suspicion that people were buying them for their tax advantages but not actually plugging them in in everyday use), BMW is adamant that they have a major role to play in both the reduction of carbon emissions and the improvement of inner-city air quality.

“The effective role plug-in hybrids can play in achieving emission-free mobility in cities is demonstrated by the example from the Netherlands. In conjunction with the city of Rotterdam, the BMW Group has implemented a pilot project to increase the use of electric power by plug-in hybrids in the city. Preliminary results indicate that participating customers drove over 90 per cent in electric mode in a specially defined ‘e-zone’ within Rotterdam,” said a BMW spokesperson.

By 2025, BMW has committed to launching 25 new or updated electrified vehicles, a roughly half-and-half mixture of all-battery models, and plugin hybrids.

Mr Krüger added: “We all have a responsibility to ensure a world worth living in for our children. We are bringing the right products to achieve this onto the market and have set ourselves the goal of purchasing electricity for our locations worldwide exclusively from renewable sources from 2020 on.

“By 2020, we also aim to have reduced the CO2 emissions of our new vehicle fleet in Europe by at least 50 per cent compared to 1995 levels. By the end of 2018, we had already achieved 42 per cent.”

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