At a tech-focused event in Munich, Germany this week, BMW officials have repeated the mantra that they deliver what they promise. Turns out, they also deliver quicker than they originally promised.
The automaker originally stated that it would have 25 electrified vehicles on the road in 2025. Now BMW says it can do all that by 2023.
Accomplishing this has a lot to do with BMW's plan to create both products and production lines that are modular. The same chassis could accept a gas, hybrid or pure electric propulsion system on the same factory line. That gives the company the ability to quickly adjust to customer demand. With that in mind, CTO Klaus Fröhlich says that he's not worried about the transition to electrification.
"It's very simple for me: We have this flexible architecture," Fröhlich said during a roundtable discussion in Tuesday. BMW builds its own electrical components and doesn't have to rely heavily on the supply chain to make vehicle updates.
Among BMW's riskier movies is its decision to exclude rare earth magnets from electric motors. Yet, the move makes sense given the current trade climate. After all, China is the largest supplier of rare earth minerals, so by forgoing those elements BMW is trying to protect itself against future tariffs.
BMW isn't totally on board with battery power for all vehicles, though. While he doesn't see fuel cells being a large part of its upcoming portfolio, Fröhlich does see the powertrain being integral to medium and heavy-duty trucks.
Fröhlich didn't mince words on his thoughts about battery powered long-haul tractor-trailer trucks versus fuel cells. Fuel cells have a future, he insists, while batteries do not. "The consensus is that beyond 2025, it'll be relevant for light and heavy-duty vehicles because the charging time is relevant," he said. "If you look at the range of a truck you would need a 16-ton payload only for the battery which is complete nonsense. So all electric trucks are complete bullshit for long-distance travel."
While BMW's been betting heavily on hybrids, it has twelve EVs on tap to appear by 2023. At its event this week, it showed off an electrified M variant concept. The chances of that car showing up in showrooms are murky if BMW really does keep its promise, but if it does make it to production it'll be joined by quite a few vehicles with some sort of electrification.