BMW Exec Discusses iNext Electric SUV & Electric Cars


For BMW, the safer, more conservative approach to electrification is the path the Bavarian carmaker is taking

Pieter Nota is not your usual automotive industry exec. After all, he joined BMW only a year ago as head of sales at the Bavarian carmaker. Furthermore, he doesn’t come from an automotive background at all. Nota cames from the consumer industry. However, with 30 years of experience at consumer giants Unilever, Beiersdorf and Philips, he comes with ample experience, but also, a sober view at the automotive industry. While he’s got his hands full battling the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Audi in the premium sector, Nota is also under attack from the likes of Tesla. After all, the electrification, alongside ever tighter emission rules, is coming at the automotive industry at an increased pace. And for the most part, BMW is somewhat lagging along.

While the interview given by Nota to AutoNews touches bases on several other items, one of the most interesting parts of the interview touches on the electrification process going on at the Bavarian carmaker. And According to the BMW head of sales,  electrification shows very different adoption levels across various markets. Even in Europe, the process is happening faster in areas like Norway, while others, like Italy for example, are slow to adopt the battery powered vehicle altogether. Even in Germany, large differences between some cities are present, prompting BMW to take a more cautious route towards electrification. And this is especially true as it remains rather difficult to forecast the penetration levels for EVs, prompting the Bavarian carmaker to take a more flexible strategy towards electrification.

“Electrification shows very different levels of adoption across different regions and even within regions. It is very successful in Norway and less so in countries such as Italy. In Germany, for example, we also see big differences between cities, mainly due to infrastructure. It remains very difficult to forecast the penetration of electric vehicles, which is why flexibility is one of the pillars of our strategy.”

Even though BMW already has several rather interesting electrified models available on sale right now, they aren’t able to convince anyone that the Bavarian carmaker is taking a more dedicated approach towards full battery-powered vehicles. Surely, the BMW iX3 and the BMW iNext will help, but overall, it seems way too little. And Note discusses just that, explaining the long-term strategic planning that is making the company take a safer, more cautious route towards electrification – unlike some other companies.

Overall, the interview gives us a number of pretty detailed responses about several rather interesting matters. For example, Nota discusses the route manufacturers are forced to take in order to satisfy the ever stricter emission regulations, no matter what the cost may be. He also gives some depth towards the BMW iNEXT, explaining how it is designed to capture early adopters and drive them to the brand. Furthermore, it is revealed how the BMW iNEXT, in terms of size, will be just like the X5. And in turn, that means that BMW is going after the newly released Audi e-tron, but also, the Mercedes-Benz EQC with this vehicle.

BMW iNEXT undergoes winter trial tests

However, to some, the most interesting tidbits are revealed when the conversation steers towards the BMW M and BMW i subbrands. After all, ‘M underlines the sporty aspect of the brand while i emphasizes the innovative aspect, which is something that will continue in the future.’ Whether that means we’ll see a fully battery powered BMW M3 anytime soon, is anybody’s guess. Nevertheless, we feel that some hybridization of the most performance oriented models from the Bavarian carmaker’s range, will surely happen in the forthcoming years. If not earlier.

Overall, this is one of the most interesting & detailed interviews lately. It gives us a broad range of subjects, but overall, paints a pretty good picture in what direction is the Bavarian carmaker headed as far as their upcoming EV models, but also, the overall strategy planning is headed. While we don’t get clear-cut answers to some questions, BMW is seemingly taking the safe approach which will allow them to build and sell both ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) and battery-powered vehicles for years to come. Whether that’s a good strategy, we’ll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, take a look at the interview right here.

Categories: BMW, General

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17 Comments on "BMW Exec Discusses iNext Electric SUV & Electric Cars"

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Just that final line…..we’ll have to wait and see. for BMW drivers and customers like me 45 years of bmw! thats the weakspot of the strategy, I bought my i3 as an early adopter 5 years ago , but I dont have a clue what electrification turns out to be in the next 10 years if there is no vision exept of some fancy mockups of iNext models…Meanwhile we see new ventures and partnerships toward a hydrogen future and hear nothing about that future from BMW exept some spypics of testing models on the internet Please give us some more transparency and clues of the future to come ,take the customer by the hand and give him an educated guess towards what the near future will be , That might be sending oud more motivation signals to next generation drivers..we dont recognize the future we make it ourself….How can I invest my savings into a next battery car if probably afterall maybe within a few years Hydrogen with a bigger range and topspeed may be the next norm??……Make a clear strategy BMW! just like Elon Musk did in his venture that leads a way to electric mobility.

They’re still working on metal embrittlement of hydrogen, MIT. Not ready for Prime Time, as they plan it would not be. Just like EV’s. Batteries too expensive. We’re not ready. Drag our feat. Customer doesn’t want it, there’s no demand. The cars are designed ugly or dull on purpose. They in no way challenge the gas line up…

Except for Tesla.

Stop comparing Tesla with the big OEMs. Musk found a market door and enetered it. Inside he found a quiet place, far from the crowded traditional market. He has no place between them but here he can try stuff.
We will see if he can survive because everyone is now starting to enter his little room. Starting this year but mostly in the next two, the big guys will sure be there.
The i4 and iNext are BMW’s new EV generation. While the i3 is a very efficient car, they say the next ones will be far superior in every aspect.

I would say and with kindest intentions that at your time of life pure electric should be your only concern. If Hydrogen ever does become mainstream its to far in the future for some of us to even consider.
Having my own solar and predominately charging free at home I personally wouldn’t want to go backward to a Hydrogen refuelling station infrastructure similar to the present gasoline monopoly.
I can see a hydrogen future for long distance freight haulage or for those who regularly travel long distances by car or camper, but it has no advantage for the majority who stay local or commute within the range of pure electric.
I too drive an i3 but having owned over 150 cars of varying types I would suggest expanding your horizons a bit there are many more cars as or more capable than one particular make.

Why are their efforts considered “too little”? By 2021 they will have the i3, i4, ix3, iNext and the Mini. Which manufacturer will have more BEVs in their program by then? (except Tesla)


BWM/Merc,Lexus etc sales will and have been eroded by Tesla on the mid-high end and other ICE oems’ sales will be eroded by VW on the lower-mid end.

That is unless they can pivot very quickly which they can’t.

Indicating that “flexibility is one of the pillars” of BMW’s lack of commitment, to going all in on EV’s, would indicate that they are unwilling to commit to sustainable EV transport solutions. It is a strategy that should keep them safe, that is until they’re sorry.

Looks like the VW Diesel gate scandal was only a teachable moment, for the European ICE OEMs, that got caught with their hand in the proverbial Cookie Jar.

Fuel Cells? Really? I thought that horse was already dead. I have to admit I find it puzzling that Toyota can still find some new customers for its Mirai. The 3 year lease offered has been a huge bargain IIRC back in 2016 & 2017 they offered 3 years and free H2 fuel for $379/mth. But I am sure Toyota looses a lot of money on that. New Mirai are listed at $58k and the 2016s coming off lease are listed for $16k to $25k. The people who buy the off-lease Mirai will not get free H2 and will certainly spend over $350/mth on fuel plus another $350/mth payments. What a nice deal, pay twice as much for used as new.

The Mirai will turn out to be the greatest waste of research dollars the industry has ever seen. What a total dud!

A 2014 BMW i3-REx owner, I am so not impressed.

Would that be of your present car or the proposed.

They don’t like electric cars.

are gas and dieselcars harmful?


Only to organic life, so no worries for you.

Love my 2018 i3s but come April, it will be a M3 AWD and in 2021 a Rivian R1S (deposit paid). Time will not wait for BMW.