BMW i8 Project Manager Becomes CEO Of Chinese Electric Car Start Up

2 years ago by Mark Kane 7

Adventurer Bertrand Piccard (l.) and Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, Head of vehicle Program BMW i8

Adventurer Bertrand Piccard (l.) and Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, Head of vehicle Program BMW i8

BMW i8

BMW i8

More key employees previously engaged in the BMW i project are leaving BMW to join electric start-ups.

After Richard Kim – founding member of BMW i Design and Lead Designer, i3 and i8 concepts moved to Faraday Future, BMW i8 project manager Carsten Breitfeld and Daniel Kirchert, responsible for the sales division in China, have also parted ways with BMW.

Carsten Breitfeld is now the CEO of Smart Electric Car (Daniel Kirchert took COO), a mystery Chinese start-up, backed by Foxconn (electronics company), Tencent (Internet company) and Harmony Auto (Chinese car dealer).

The goal is apparently high-quality electric cars that will be sold in China and globally.  But we will just have to wait and see the result.

“The two will bring years of technical and marketing expertise which will create additional competition in the segment for BMW and its current and upcoming electric vehicles.”

Source: BMW Blog

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7 responses to "BMW i8 Project Manager Becomes CEO Of Chinese Electric Car Start Up"

  1. R.S. says:

    Since Herbert Diess, went from BMW to VW, BMW seems to have slowed down its i brand. I guess it would only make sense for those who worked there to search for a more progressive companies to work for.

    1. Skryll says:

      Still a pity, the i8 and i3 have sold a surprising amount IMHO, would have loved to see the same people improve on it…

    2. Clive says:

      Absolutely.

  2. Clive says:

    Cash is king.

    Not surprising really.

    Tesla has lost people to Apple too.

  3. Daniel Lavia says:

    Well… isn’t Foxconn the iPhone manufacturer…? Doesn’t that tell us something about who they will really be working for?

    1. wavelet says:

      No, FoxConn is a huge (largest in the world) contract manufacturer for any number of brands.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxconn
      If anything, they’ve decided it’s finally time they also reap benefits from (co)owning a brand.
      Lenovo did something similar, from being IBM’s contract manufacturer for PCs to an independent brand, Asus ditto.

      China’s has just become the world’s largest EV market, so that’s a pretty good base for a new product for FoxConn, and they have significant int’l connections, so are well placed for export as well.

  4. carcus says:

    So, what you might consider the “non-legacy electric threat” now consists of :

    1. Tesla
    2. BYD
    3. Apple
    4. Google
    5. Faraday
    6. Foxconn