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BMW plans dedicated platform for battery-electric cars

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

On the occasion of the presentation of the quarterly figures, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse announced the decision to develop its own cluster architecture for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) – similar to what Volkswagen has already introduced with its Modular Electric Drive System (MEB). From around 2025, BEVs based on its own homegrown electrical platform will be produced in BMW’s new plant in Hungary, Zipse said. Later, other production sites in the worldwide BMW network will follow.

Until now, the Bavarian car manufacturer had designed all its cars according to a common architecture, regardless of the drive system variant. The thinking behind it: This means that cars with conventional drive systems, BEVs and plug-in hybrids can be produced on one and the same assembly line. This, according to the BMW production engineers, gives the company the necessary flexibility to react easily to fluctuations in demand. In addition, BMW saved the cost of developing such a platform. However, the success of its bogey opponent Tesla and the speed with which the Volkswagen group (with Audi, Porsche and SEAT) has introduced BEVs has increased the pressure on BMW. Now Zipse is making electric mobility a top priority: the department developing the new cluster architecture with electric drive is reporting directly to the BMW boss.


At the same time, Zipse reaffirmed previous plans to introduce electrified versions of the existing model range. For example, the i4 with a range of 600 km is to be launched in 2021. The iNext is to follow in the same year as a purely electric vehicle. By 2023, BMW plans to offer 25 models with electrified drives (including PHEVs). However, the real start will be around 2025 – when the company will enter “Phase III” of electrification (Zipse). From this year onwards, the BMW boss expects a significant increase in the number of electric vehicles. The new cluster platform is to play a central role here.

In addition to electrification, digitalisation is also at the heart of BMW innovation. Since October, all key software functions of the company have been bundled in a new unit called “Digital Car”. With this, BMW wants to turn its cars into “managed devices” that can be continuously provided with new services and functions via software updates.

Related articles:

BMW puts R&D think thank into operation

VW spends €60 billion for electromobility, digitisation R&D

Volkswagen setting off into the E-era

Electric Cars: The Lifeline of the Auto Industry

BMW explores the limits of electric drives

Audi introduces “Functions on Demand“


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