BMW Execs To Skip Paris Show To Hold Meetings On The Automaker’s EV Future

9 months ago by Mark Kane 37

 The BMW Vision Next 100

The BMW Vision Next 100

Reuters reports that BMW’s management board will skip the 2016 Paris Motor Show to discuss its electric car strategy.

Currently the stakes are high, as BMW needs to decide whether or not to invest heavily into new all-electric models, while at the same time sacrificing some short-term profitability to do so.

BMW i3

BMW i3

One of key factors behind BMW’s decision is said to center around the 400,000 pre-orders for the Model 3 Tesla has acquired, and the new all-electric models announced (and almost announced) by other premium brands. At the same time, the BMW i3 has not provided the financial success/sales volumes as expected, the company hopes the new 33 kWh upgraded 2017 version will assist in the regard.

Some of the BMW board members are not sure about jumping into BEVs.

“But BMW has been torn about whether to accelerate development of new electric cars, given its expensive early investments into the area which resulted in only lackluster sales of its i3, which saw only 25,000 deliveries last year.

Norbert Reithofer championed the i3 project while CEO of the carmaker and, in his new role as chairman, is keeping up pressure on new CEO Harald Krueger and BMW management to expand the company’s electric program.

But some other senior executives are unwilling to plow more resources into electric cars until i3 sales improve and there is a clearer business case for such investment, according to one of the four sources, who declined to be named because of the confidential nature of the discussions.

Most of BMW’s eight-strong management board — including the CEO and CFO — traditionally attend the closed-door press and executive days of the biennial Paris Motor Show for one of the biggest industry gatherings of the calendar.

But this year only Ian Robertson, board member for sales and marketing, will be at the show, while the rest will instead attend a company strategy meeting at the end of September, according to the sources.”

MINI E

MINI E

The other question on the table is also whether or not MINI will get its own all-electric model too. The margins on the electric MINI could be lower than on the electric BMW, while an investment into platform modifications are similar.

We can bet that BMW is now carefully watching those new 33 kWh i3 orders, and trying to figure out the future of long-range BEVs.

source: Automotive News

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37 responses to "BMW Execs To Skip Paris Show To Hold Meetings On The Automaker’s EV Future"

  1. Mister G says:

    I’m glad Tesla isn’t shackled to ICE legacy…GO TESLA GO.

  2. EV AZ says:

    Perhaps they will release the X3 PHEV with more then a mear 13mi EV range like the X5.

  3. fred says:

    Mini needs carplay.
    And a BEV mini would be awesome, at least a PHEV.

    1. Heisenberghtbacktotherootsandnuts says:

      From the article:

      “…MINI will get its pwn all-electric model too”

      PWN!

      1. Jay Cole says:

        …that’s what you get for having your dictionary accept “d00d” speak, (=

        /fixed

  4. pjwood1 says:

    It isn’t as if BMW went “Here, here is an i3. Our best effort. Why isn’t it doing better?” They could have done better, but did several standard thing to preclude greater interest in the cars (doors, windows, tires, tank size, two tone looks).

    They are probably patting themselves on the back, for not stealing from 3-series sales all the costs that go into each CFRP chassis and 33kwh battery.

    1. Four Electrics says:

      The i3 is intentionally a city car, and designed to work around the poor battery technology available at the time. It was also designed to appeal to early adopters, like the Prius. With future batteries, and/or a hydrogen range extender, BMW can make heavier uncompromised cars.

      Now, you may ask why BMW did not go the Tesla route and chose cylindrical batteries, allowing for a higher density pack. I expect it was due to budget, and the suspicion that the non-city car EV market was too small to justify the investment. That was a big mistake, clearly.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        Not doing a luxury BEV is something I believe BMW did deliberately. Like others, they recognized there is more profit in losing a few to tesla, and otherwise keeping a big bucket of high margin customers in internal combustion cars. The mistake would be in not spotting the rate they lose customers. So far, since profits trump customers and the environment for them, I’d say they do not see a mistake to this point. That’s what makes the meeting interesting. The smell the coffee of answering Model 3.

        1. wavelet says:

          The i3 may not be a luxury BEV, but it’s value-for-the-price on major EV points, as well as general car points, it’s rather lacking (4-seater & luggage capacity, range). It has better acceleration than some, and better efficiency than most, but efficiency isn’t what BEV owners care about — range is.

      2. Priusmaniac says:

        Is that a joke? The Prius may be an old outdated technology by now, but the i3 doesn’t compare in terms of size, seating for five, hatch, design, aerodynamics, tires and interior space.
        Those things a Prius has is the reason why the i3 is not a success with many people, including families with 3 children or with two and a friend of one.
        Doing an ev is fantastic and the i3 rex system was a good idea, but BMW should have done a proper i5 sedan like a Prius not a micro car that is only there because it would not disturb any other model of the BMW brand and certainly not the 3 series.
        It is time to decide indeed, or they take the Kodak half measures way or they put an electric on the market similar or identic to a 3 series with full size, seating 5 and great look. There is no place for i3 type half measures if they want to get forward and still be there in another hundred years.

      3. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        I would agree with the first part of your post, but BMW can’t go into ludicrous cash burning mode like Tesla and ask for shareholders for 7 share dilution rounds in row. It was just not possible for established company and it isn’t possible now either, they need to show the money, not visions.

        They will get deeper into this market when better technology will be available. I’m not sure if it is available right now. i3 has some really good engineering, none of competitors can match its carbon fiber body weight. But ~114 miles that current Li Ion technology can provide is not impressive. Technology will improve, but BMW is deciding if they should do it right now using whatever technology is available now, not some time later when it will happen.

        1. TomArt says:

          BMW wouldn’t have to cash burn like Tesla. They have a global dealership network, so no need to build out a global sales and service network. They will probably not support their vehicles with charging infrastructure, instead waiting for VW to fulfill their settlement, so no need to build a global intercity charging network. BMW already has factory assembly lines with capacities to meet whatever demand any BMW vehicle has.

        2. John in AA says:

          History is littered with former giants who decided they’d step in and take the market when it was mature enough. If you’re old enough you may remember a company called “Kodak”.

  5. JH says:

    BMW could have a winner on their hand. If they did something about the doors and put in a decent battery worths its salt. As it is now, it cant really compete with anything.

    1. Pedro Guedes says:

      Exactly!

  6. ffbj says:

    I don’t know maybe they should just scrap he project and start over. They made two many fundamental mistakes and incorrect assumptions with the i3.

    1. Pedro Guedes says:

      Bmw should invest heavily in S1 electric with REX.
      Today REX is an amazing solution if combined with good batery range. Basically, no compromises!

      1. Pedro Guedes says:

        S1, S3, S5 the whole range. And change thos stupid back doors from i3

  7. Rick Bronson says:

    BMW ran ads saying that buying 3 Series Plugin today is better than waiting for Model-3.

    But customers just ignored BMW and are willing to wait for Model-3 since its $10,000 cheaper and has an extra 200 mile range than 3 series.

    I hope they don’t fool around any further and definitely i3 is lot more expensive for its range.

    For sure Bolt will grab some sales from i3 as its drive will be as smooth and can go an extra 96 miles. But GM should produce Bolt in enough quantity.

  8. Someone out there says:

    Of course it’s not selling well, $42k for an 80 mile car? The LEAF is $29k for an 80 mile car and that isn’t exactly cheap either but it’s much easier to swallow.

    I think it’s a problem of batteries, more specifically a lack of batteries. BMW want to maintain a certain profitability but there isn’t enough batteries to mass produce the car so they need to have a high profit margin per car to maintain overall profitability. Of course that doesn’t really work for a compact 80-miler with all the compromises you have to make as a customer.

    BMW have to investigate how to get cheaper batteries and above all much more of them. They might not need to have their own Gigafactory but then they do need to convince someone else to build one.

  9. philip d says:

    If they decide to wait to go all in with EVs it will be fine. Tesla will help them make their decision a few more years down the road.

    1. Heisenberghtbacktotherootsandnuts says:

      I have to disagree. It would not be fine… The earlier they jump on the train, the earlier ev train gains momentum, thereby making evs available for more people, providing the freedom to produce their own fuel, providing less dependence on big oil, providing less war!

      While slightly simplified the above mentioned causal chain should easily tell the informed reader that ALL car companies should jump on the train as fast as possible in order to make the world more peaceful.

      (I herewith neglect the risk that falling oil prices might have a destabilizing effect in some regions of the world…)

      Oil=energy=war!
      Electricity=energy=peace!
      …strange math, ehh!

      Decentralized energy production!
      Decentralized energy storage!
      => stable grid!
      Solar + Evs + v2g are the key for a stable and resilient world!

      Get your attention right BMW!

  10. Yogurt says:

    If BMW wants to sell more i3s the first and most obvious step is to paint it like a normal car and lose the dorky black plastic on the front back and side bottoms…
    Making the side door look normal wouldnt hurt either…
    It is amazing how you can design and engineer an awsome car and then make it look like a tennis shoe (as some poster had previously described it)…
    In the looks of the i3 BMW strayed from being BMW and that was a huge mistake for this auto…
    Plus being a preium brand you cant get beat by non preimums in performance looks and range…
    The rendeing in the link looks 100 times better painted normaly and it has a better looking front end…

    http://blog.caranddriver.com/electric-bmw-i3-rendered-will-get-rear-mounted-motor-rear-wheel-drive-and-sandwich-floor-construction/

    BMW does need more EVs if they want to keep up with their numer one rival Mercedes anounced plans (along with Tesla) and that alone should spur them into further action…

  11. David Murray says:

    I think the i3 is a wonderful car. But I admit it is likely overpriced for what you get. We got ours used so the price tag was much easier to swallow. The external design of the car is also polarizing, and they should have known that from the beginning.

  12. Victor says:

    Just speaking for myself. I love the looks of the BMW i3. I have had a 3-day test drive. The suicide doors are not a problem, but I do understand how it could be a problem for some. With my six year old twin boys in the backseat, I didn’t have to worry about putting on the safety locks on the doors. I didn’t have to lock the back glass so they didn’t roll down the windows. With the dip in the suicide doors I didn’t have to use booster seats. There are other things I really love about the car, but there are two reasons why I don’t have a BMW I3 in my driveway. 1 is the electric range. If BMW thinks a car with 114 mile range can compete with Tesla, they are not being realistic. 2 is the infrastructure support. I’m not going to spend $50,000 on a car to run around in the city with. I’m not that desperate. Until BMW can figure out a way to compete with Tesla in those 2 categories they will do well to just save their money, because Tesla will eat their lunch.

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      Didn’t have to use booster seats? They don’t make those things to give kids a better view. They raise your kids up so the shoulder belt won’t break their neck or crush their windpipe in a wreck.

      Please use booster seats (unless otherwise directed) until your kids are 4’8″.

  13. Riccardo says:

    The one who are investing in EV now will get money back in the future!

  14. Just_Chris says:

    I thought both the i3 and i8 were a pretty successful pair. What were people expecting? The i3 is a 4 seater, basically just a posh I-miev. Even BMW’s micro-PHEV’s are selling well. If anything this is a meeting about how to accelerate deployment of ev’s across the range. Yes with Tesla BMW has new competition but they are not totally lost at sea.

    1. Victor says:

      They may not be totally lost at sea, but they can’t find the shore.

      1. Just_Chris says:

        I am not a massive fan of BMW’s current offerings but I don’t think their strategy is bad.

        In 2-3 years time they will probably have upgraded all their PHEV-Lite’s to around 20 miles epa range plus release another handful of offerings in their conventional PHEV line up. I could easily see X1-5 and 1-7 series all being offered as a 20ish mile PHEV’s by around 2020. Those will likely all sell quite well and convert many people who would not buy an EV to an EV.

        BMW also have the “i” brand that should compete quite well with Tesla. That would require the i5 to look like the i8 but be a saloon with 5 seats and an i3 like electric range, the i8 would need a range and power boost and the i3 would need its appearance and utility dramatically improved.

        I could see all of that happening and BMW being in a very strong position come 2020.

        Having said that if they leave the PHEV’s with pathetic little batteries, only offer the i8/i5 as rich mans playthings and continue to offer the i3 as a car that looks like a hippo in ballet shoes then they are stuffed. Needless to say reality will be somewhere in the middle. Hopefully Nissan and Renault will do “hot” versions of the 2nd gen Leaf and Zoe with 60 kWh batteries, AWD and sub 5 sec 0-60 times all for less than $40k with “boring” 40 kWh versions in the sub $30k range. I’m not sure who I want to win, I just would like to see a very big war that results in me being able to replace my 2012 leaf with something much, much better in 2-3 years time. I’d actually be quite happy with the 30 kWh leaf but it’d be nice for it to either be very much cheaper or have a 40 kWh battery.

  15. Just_Chris says:

    BTW from all the news and activities pre-Paris I am expecting a big hairy monster to jump out of the closest at Paris that will steal all of the lime light.

  16. Intrepid says:

    Of course the Tesla fanboys are gonna jump in here and bash BMW but the fact of the matter is BMW have more electrified models than ANY other car maker..
    i3
    i8
    X1e
    225xe
    330e
    X5e
    740Le

    Most of these vehicles were released just this year and will soon amass more sales than Tesla’s entire lineup, once more readily available.

  17. ps says:

    Why can’t they just produce the ActiveE for sales? An all electric 1 series! I would buy that.
    i3 is ugly and the i8 is too expensive. People want their normal looking cars to be electric… Simple!
    I would consider 3 series electric, but the smaller 1 series coupe was great. I Bernice they had some technology issues, but they could have worked that out, instead of making the ugly i3.

  18. Kdawg says:

    Whatever happened to the i5? If they make that more mainstream, and give it a decent EV range, it could sell well and maybe steal some sales back from Tesla.

  19. 2JohnLars says:

    I think the modest range improvement for the 2017 i3 is a critical error. It will get overlooked. I took advantage of the great 199/mo lease for the 2016 i3 Rex a month ago, and enjoy the car. But I think the race to 150, 200, 250 all electric range that will play out in the next 12 plus months will leave the i3 behind.

  20. TomArt says:

    Well, if they are going to base their decisions on the visually-polarizing, advanced-yet-crippled range of the i3, then they are not going to be making the best decision. I realize this is just a summary article, with repeated sound bites, but I sincerely hope that BMW has cleverer leaders than that.

    Is there a business case for EVs?!? Are you kidding me?!?

    First, oil is a finite resource – it will get prohibitively expensive long before it would run out completely.

    However, long before that ever happens, emissions regulations will continue to pile up globally, particularly in European and Chinese cities that already have, or will have, zero-emission/electric-only operation zones.

    Not to mention the market success of the Model S – outsold all luxury sedan classes in North America and, most impressively, Western Europe last year. It’s not just Daimler’s lunch money that Tesla is taking, but it’s also BMW’s, and Lexus’s, etc.

    I would also sincerely hope that a majority of these business leaders can tell the difference between profit margin on a production vehicle separate from capital expenditures and R&D and the resulting overcapacity. Tesla is not profitable because they are expanding far beyond the number of showrooms, service centers, superchargers, battery supply and production line capacities needed to support a luxury line of EVs. It is not reasonable to expect S and X sales to pay for all of this. Because of that alone, they will remain in the hole until the Model 3 is selling reliably, in volume, after the end of this decade.

    BMW already has a global dealership network, and they can contract out battery supplies with whomever they want. They have the size, stability and the factory capacity to get the job done now. They don’t need to spend at the levels Tesla is spending because they already have, or don’t need, what Tesla is building.

    Plus, BMW did all of these pilot projects and research with the MINI-E and the Active-E programs…time to leverage that knowledge and experience! Those were pure EVs, not rexes or whatever else.

  21. Alonso Perez says:

    BMW should skate to where the puck is going to be. Investment decisions made today will be for a landscape where electric cars are plentiful, batteries cheap (for those who have arranged procurement) and where the Model III will consistently embarrass ICE cars in the category.

    This is not a world BMW wants to be in without a solid EV offering.