By November 29, 2017 Read More →

BMW looking for partners to develop small EVs

small EVs

BMW says its small EVs will likely be aimed at the urban consumer. BMW photo.

Technical challenges associated with small EVs

German automaker BMW says it is in talks with other automakers in an effort to find partners to develop an electric Mini, according to a Reuters report.

“We are talking to many OEMs (manufacturers) around the world, not only in China, (about) how to electrify smaller cars,” said BMW Management board member Peter Schwarzenbauer.

According to the report, last month, Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Co said it was discussing a possible venture with BMW to build Minis in China.

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Schwarzenbauer declined to comment on a possible relationship with Great Wall, saying “this was speculation.”

Currently, BMW does not manufacture its Mini outside Europe.

The challenges BMW will face to building small EVs include financial costs as well as finding ways to fit batteries that offer sufficient range into a smaller vehicle.

Despite the hurdles, BMW says it would like to launch its electric Mini by 2019.  The company says Mini could eventually become an entirely electric brand which will be aimed at urban consumers.

“The way for Mini in the U.S. is … building the Mini brand in the direction of the electric urban mobility company,” said Schwarzenbauer.  He added the company will not be adding larger SUVs to the Mini lineup.

In the past, BMW has worked with Toyota to develop fuel cell vehicles.

BMW is also planning to offer a self-driving car by 2021 and is hoping the sale price will be under $100,000.  The iNEXT model will be available to individual consumers, ride services fleets and put into service in BMW fleets.

“By 2021, you will have a lot of people who want to own this car,” he told Reuters. “It will be a normal price. We are thinking of scaling this. To bring a $150,000 electric car is nice, but it will not really scale.”

The iNEXT will not likely be available with complete Level 5 autonomy because regulatory and legal frameworks for these vehicles will not likely be in place by then, Schwarzenbauer said.

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