BMW Research & Development Boss Discusses Electric Cars
Recently, Automotive News sat down with Klaus Froehlich, BMW’s new research and development boss.
Much of the interview focuses on ICE BMWs, but there are a few questions asked that relate to electric cars.
Q: What will BMW’s powertrain mix look like in 2021 once the EU’s tougher emission rules take full effect?
A: Our new gasoline and diesel units are part of a modular family so we can easily adjust output to market and customer requirements. Europeans like diesels and are not particularly keen on alternative drivetrains. Diesel will continue to play a dominant role in Europe as one of the enablers to achieve lower CO2 emissions. Some markets, such as the Netherlands and Norway, have done a good job encouraging electrification, but I don’t see any significant momentum boosting electrified vehicles Europewide.
Q: As an engineer, what is the best technical solution to reduce CO2?
A: Maintaining BMW’s sheer driving pleasure is key because our cars are bought by customers not regulators. When we created the i subbrand we aimed to defy the common perception that electrified powertrains were unemotional. That’s why the i8 [performance coupe] was picked to be our first plug-in hybrid before offering this type of powertrain on the X5, 3 series and 2 series. Because responsiveness and directness are typical for BMW, we made sure our electric drivetrains could achieve this. The difficulty at the moment is battery power density. I personally don’t see a 7 series as a pure battery-powered vehicle. Although some other companies do models like that, I think electric powertrains need more battery power density before they are ready for larger cars. When you have 500 kilograms of batteries in a car, you feel them. Weight for me is a key factor.
Q: Will BMW offer plug-in diesels?
A: When we look at the overall volumes of plug-ins worldwide, 95 percent are sold in gasoline markets. So at the moment it really doesn’t make sense to offer a diesel plug-in to a European customer who is not prepared to pay thousands of euros for such a solution.
He seems a bit hesitant to the idea of battery electrics, but open to plug-in hybrids.
Source: Automotive News