BMW: We Won’t Do A Pure Electric 7 Series


2016 BMW 740e

2016 BMW 740e

Even though virtually every automaker out there says it will produce a Tesla-fighter at some point in the future, BMW is apparently not interested in producing an all-electric car that could compete with the Model S.

BMW’s focus right now seems to be on plug-in hybrids with minimal electric range (15-25 miles or so). When asked whther or not BMW would do a pure electric 7 Series to compete with the Model S, BMW research and development chief, Klaus Frolich, flat out stated that the automaker won’t build such a car.

According to Frolich, pure electric cars don’t provide enough range to meet the demands of 7 Series owners and the added weight of batteries is not desirable.

Instead, BMW will work on a hydrogen & Series for possible introduction by 2020.

There is a PHEV 7 Series coming soon, but it will offer far less than 20 miles of electric-only range and should not be considered a competitor to the Model S.

Source: Automobil-Produktion

Categories: BMW


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54 Comments on "BMW: We Won’t Do A Pure Electric 7 Series"

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That BMW guy reminds me of Nokia !

Dear BMW, in that case expect to continue to lose sales to the Model S (which is already outselling the 7 Series and S-Class in the USA). Sincerely, The Future of Transportation

For the first eight months of 2015 the S-Class averaged 1755 U.S. monthly sales.

So around 500 less than the Model S? Thats still outsold, especially if you keep in mind Teslas best quarter (in US sales) always has been q4.

Around 50 less. πŸ™‚

Wow, if this is really BMW’s outlook then I will not be sad when I leave the brand. Because ain’t no way I’ll be considering a FCEV.

Too heavy and not enough range.. that’s been a broken record for over 3 years now. Why not just be honest and say that you don’t want to do it.

Electrification is more important to luxury brands like BMW because that is the market that will convert to EVs first.

“Not enough range” but we are thinking of building a car that you cannot refuel anywhere.

+1 πŸ™‚

Never said any better! +1

+ 1

(To be fair: Well there are some places where it might possibly work to refill such a BMW fuel-cell-car. Those highly complicated ultra-high-pressure-pumps which require a lot of energy to compress hydrogen. Those high-tech refilling stations costing far far far more than electric fast chargers, with lots of components which will likely have to be replaced due to wear and tear after some years.) People are sometimes stupid, but seriosly BMW, we are not THAT stupid… Why hydrogen??? Please, please do something that makes sense!


Hard to imagine very many smart, sophisticated execs, used to doing their homework, would buy a hydrogen fuel headache.

In 2020 ~24 hydrogen fueling stations almost all in California vs ~1,000 Supercharger stations (with 4-20 bays each) all over North America.

And a Model S that will get 300-400 miles on a single charge.

I don’t think range is the real issue.

You couldn’t refuel a gasoline car anywhere, when they were introduced and they still become a thing.

Even before there were gas/petrol stations, you could buy gasoline in a can at a drug store or hardware store, and pour that into your motorcar’s gas tank. Good luck doing that with highly compressed hydrogen…

Well an electric 700HP 5 series is welcome anytime BMW!!

Here is what bmw and mercedes and others are not getting. If you are gonna build a plug in hybrid, then the all electric range needs to be at least 80-100 miles. This is because when you make an all electric range of 20 miles like the new c class plug in, that means that i have to charge it every night. Its like going to a has station every night to make sure i have full 20 miles for the commute the next day. Either make an all electric car that does 250-400 miles or plug in hybrid with 80-100 only electric miles. Think about your custome and convenience, not your pockets.

I don’t think plugging in each night is a big deal. But if I had a 20 mile AER ‘luxury’ car, I’d be pissed off every time the engine came on and ruined the driving experience.

Right. The reason we need PHEVs with an 80-100 mile EV range, or at least a 60 mile range, is that real-world driving data shows that we need at least 60 miles of range to replace 85%+ of petrol-powered miles with electricity-powered ones.

Graph of real-world statistics of Volt daily driving distance shown here:

Of course we’re not all going to agree that 85% is goal we should be aiming for, but it seems to me that this is a realistic goal using current technology. Basically, we need a Volt with a larger battery pack, and variants on that type of PHEV, for those who are not willing to live with the limitations of BEVs.

PHEVs with a wholly inadequate EV range of 25 miles or less need not apply.

Only 20 miles AND an underpowered electric motor for an uninspiring driving experience in EV mode.

Many people would completely disagree with 85% being the goal. Especially when it comes to larger vehicles, like large luxury cars and SUV’s.

That’s because a big car like a 7-series would save around as many gallons of gas at 50% as a Volt would at 85%.

Hopefully I don’t have to explain that math, and how big cars and SUV’s burn more gas per mile than a compact car, like the Volt?

What do you have against any PHEV that saves around the same number of gallons of gas per year as a Volt?

Even a short pure EV range on cars with low MPG is a major win for reducing gas consumption.

I wonder how much the BMW i brand is bound to the main brand. Maybe the i guys could go their own way and at some point overtake the main lines if more successful…

They will not do a second model S and they are right. Consumers don’t accept the shortcomings of a BEV, especially without BMW building a charging net!

BMW owners would be more than satisfied with a BMW 7er with 80-100miles AER/120kW electric motor + 45liter tank/200kW ICE.

It isn’t necessary to build a pure EV to compete with Tesla. A really great PHEV could definitely compete. But so far, with the exception of the i3 Rex, all of their PHEVs have such little range that they are definitely not competition.

So…long…BMW, instead of F.L. Wright:

“BMW’s focus right now seems to be on plug-in hybrids with minimal electric range (15-25 miles or so).”

Sadly, that applies to most other auto makers too.

Speaking as an EV enthusiast, the EV revolution is advancing at a painfully slow pace. πŸ™

“BMW research and developmentchief, Klaus Frolich, flat out stated that the automaker won’t build such a car.”

Porsche’s equivalent Wolfgang Hatz was just fired. Let’s hope Mr. Frolich doesn’t reach for VW’s special sauce.

BMW is becoming as transparent as the rest of the German OEMs. They won’t do DCFC fast enough, but hydrogen? Hydrogen is where its at. Tesla’s growth can be measured by the scope of their fail. Instead of covering the PLANET with DC chargers, VW will spend a good chunk of its 26 billion cash, on legal and recall costs. This is what incestuous governance brings consumers, the environment, and investors.

I think you forget the influential and corrupting role the fossil fuel industry has on automakers and politicians…

Right. This counter-productive, insane boondoggle of using tax money to build hydrogen fueling stations by the governments of Japan and California, plus Toyota and Honda and Hyundai using “fool cell” cars to chase carbon credits, wouldn’t be happening without Big Oil & Gas lobbying politicians to promote the “hydrogen economy” and to give carbon credits for wasting money on a dead-end technology.

The buck stops with BMW. I haven’t forgotten that.

Oink Oink

PHEV’s with longer AER won’t work for bigger, heavier vehicles that are expected to have significant room for passengers. There are significant packaging issues.

The cell chemistry used for PHEV battery packs are very different than those used for BEVs. They are optimized completely differently. To pack in enough charge to have a large AER is to have a bigger EV portion of the power train and a weak ICE. If they could do that and sort out the compromises, they would have done it. They don’t even have the motors. All of the motors they are using are small synchronous motors that use permanent magnets. Optimized for low end torque but not for the wide, across the spectrum performance. Almost none of the significant components used in a mild full sized PHEV are suitable for an full sized BEV or range extended EV.

The Volt gets away with it because of its size and low expectations of performance.

If they can build a bus to do more than 150 miles surely it won’t be long before a larger car can do 500 ?

Cadillac has already revealed the “Full-sized” 2016 CT6 PHEV based loosely on the 2nd generation Volt powertrain technology. It uses the 18.4 kWh 2016 Volt battery but repackages it outside the cabin area and into the back of the trunk so there is full passenger space. The CT6 uses new body construction techniques and materials to reduce weight. It will be rated as 335 HP (250 kW) with a 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder gas engine and will get over twice the gas-only hybrid mpg of the conventional engine versions. They haven’t released final mpg, EV range, or MPGe EV efficiency numbers yet but cadillac’s ATS and CTS models get 19-25 EPA combined city/highway mpg so it’s reasonable to guess around 38+ mpg. The 2016 Malibu hybrid is getting 47 mpg from a 2ng gen Volt-based transmission and a 1.8L gas 4-cylinder. The Cadillac ELR, a first gen Volt with a completely redesigned body is rated 85 MPGe with an EV range of about 38 miles and up to 233 HP (174 kW) in hybrid mode. If the CT6 were also rated as 85 MPGe then it’s EV range would be about 42 miles since the 2016 Volt with the same battery… Read more »
The problem with using the CT6 as a comparison is that we know too little about it. They stuck the batteries in a big brick at the rear of the vehicle. Either seating or cargo space or both has to be given up for it. We know system horsepower and torque, but not all electric performance. We know the expected battery capacity, but given the weight of the CT6 and then adding Voltec components, this will increase curb weight by at least 400 pounds. ELR demonstrates the packaging and performance problems of delivering a high performance luxury sports car in a PHEV form. It’s passenger and cargo room is small and it has poor performance and merely 40 miles of AER. As for the Volt, it’s a terrific car. Note that Car and Driver tested the car at 2.6 seconds for 0-30 in their full instrumented test and in both tests, the gasoline engine was running. The Volt is a smaller car with a curb weight of 3,543 pounds. The Model S 85 is about 4,400 pounds. The Volt is not proof of the ability to do it in bigger and higher end cars. The performance expectations go up. The… Read more »

It’s actually unclear to me if Car & Driver’s track testing was in hybrid mode with the gas engine or in EV mode. They (moronically) didn’t say. They also got 0-60 mph in 7.8 seconds and reported noise levels during full acceleration and at 70 mph that were the same or lower than a test they did in 2014 on the Tesla Model S60.

Motor Trend did their own track testing of the 2016 Volt in hybrid mode and got 0-30 in 2.1 which is slightly better than the 0-30 in 2.2 that they got in a 2013 review of the Tesla Model S85. The Volt did 0-60 mph in 7.1, according to MT.

As for the 2016 CT6 hybrid, we should know the full specs pretty soon.

“The Volt is not proof of the ability to do it in bigger and higher end cars. The performance expectations go up. ”

Read my post below. Even just using the Voltec in a full size or SUV now you would be vastly improving what all the other automakers are doing with their PHEVs. From Mercedes to BMW to Ford all of the PHEVs have 100 hp or smaller electric motors. The Volt has 150 hp in a small package. Of course it would translate up.

If the tiny Volt can accommodate a 150 hp motor and a 1.5L engine and a 18.4 kWh pack then it wouldn’t be difficult to put a 200 hp motor into a full size vehicle which would give it decent EV performance and outstanding performance combined with the engine in hybrid mode.

The CT6 battery location leaves decent trunk space. The car is as large as a 7-series. IEV has an article with the pictures, if you search.

I think we can already count on GM’s 18.4kwh delivering the full 40 miles. That get’s back to our old historic NHTSA argument, that 80% of drivers go less distance than this, per day.

I am starting to roundly say “the Germans”, but in truth, they’re all doing the same PHEV formula, of poor miles per kwh, or low 8-11kwh batteries. It’s as if they’ll keep doing this until the technology is negatively branded. That must be the goal in the U.S. Good luck with that. Maybe the Q7 PHEV’s 17.3kwh will scrape past 30 miles. My hope is, since this car doesn’t have a 2 gallon gas tank, etc., it actually gives a major German OEM their first true EREV demand signal.

Just a slight correction. My 2015 Volt (built in April, 2015) consistently charges to 49 miles EV and the accuracy is confirmed by the odometer. In fact, in certain driving conditions here in south Florida (with AC always), I have gotten 53-54 EV miles. A BEV not practical for me with only one car.

“The Volt gets away with it because of its size and low expectations of performance.” The Volt motors working together produce 150 hp and hardly use any permanent magnets. Volt 2.0 has an off the line 0-30 performance a tick better than a Tesla S85 according to Motor Trend and their times for both cars. Volt 2.0’s larger traction motor uses a less permanent magnets with reduced rare earth metals from Volt 1.0. And the smaller generator motor which now contributes also to power output is an induction motor. The Voltec idea could eaily be placed in any of the BMW or other weak PHEVs and greatly increase their all EV range and EV performance. Most have electric motors with 100 hp or less. They also don’t have to go the tunnel battery route that the Voltec has used but instead could go with a configuration like the i3 or Leaf with a slightly smaller battery to keep weight down but give the battery enough output for 150-200 hp. and a range of 30-50 miles depending on the size and weight of the vehicle. When you look at how much room a BMW X5 has under the back seats and… Read more »

Both motors in the 2016 Volt are still permanent magnet. However, they switched the smaller motor to use ferrite magnets with no rare earth metals and they sharply reduced the use of rare earth metals in the larger motor by using advanced magnet manufacturing techniques to concentrate the rare earth metals along the edges and corners of the magnets where it is most needed.

Tech01x said: “The cell chemistry used for PHEV battery packs are very different than those used for BEVs. They are optimized completely differently. To pack in enough charge to have a large AER is to have a bigger EV portion of the power train and a weak ICE. If they could do that and sort out the compromises, they would have done it.” You’re overstating the case. Sure, PHEVs have a different power vs. energy optimization for the battery pack than BEVs do. The PHEV’s pack is smaller and, all else being equal, would have much less power, so battery cells must be selected to optimize high power rather than high energy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t build a PHEV with longer range. A bigger battery pack makes engineering easier, not harder. Bigger battery packs have higher power just because they have more cells in them, so optimizing for power is less critical. The reasons that traditional auto makers haven’t built PHEVs with ranges to rival or exceed that of the Volt are: 1. Such cars would cost too much to compete in a price class lower than where Tesla dominates, and 2. They don’t want to build compelling… Read more »

So, the i3 is just a compliance vehicle then.


If it is a compliance vehicle, why is it sold in markets that have no such rules to comply with?

The basic BMW i3 is not a compliance car. Reviews make it quite clear it’s a well-designed BEV, and the InsideEVs monthly sales charts show it’s sold in considerably more than “compliance car” numbers here in North America.

But the U.S. version of the BMW i3 REx, a decent BEV which can switch-hit as a crippled PHEV, most certainly is a compliance car. BMW intentionally crippled it, as compared to the European version, to fit into a new “BEVx” category which BMW lobbied hard for CARB to create. I don’t know if the REx version is sold in the USA outside of CARB states, but it’s irrelevant (to this discussion) whether it is or not. It’s not like BMW sells another version of the i3 REx in other States of the USA. The crippled American version i3 REx was engineered to be a compliance car, and that’s what it is. Which State it’s sold in doesn’t change that reality.

Exxon love BMW long time!

Building a 7-Series to compete with the Model S would require BMW to build a completely dedicated EV chassis, like Tesla did.

Trying to retrofit enough batteries into their existing gas car chassis could never compete with the Model S. It just can’t be done.

BMW sells less than 10,000 7-Series vehicles in the US. There is no way they can afford to build 2 completely different chassis for a car that sells so few units. That wouldn’t make any sense at all.

The only place that BMW can compete is with their dedicated EV platform (i3). Developing a higher range i5 and i7 platform is their only chance.

Yup. If you want a long-range PEV, put the battery pack in a flat layer under the floor, like Tesla Models S and X, and the BMW i3. Putting the battery pack in the trunk not only wastes luggage space, it makes the car rear-heavy.

Compelling plug-in EVs are designed from the ground up. They aren’t created by shoe-horning an electric powertrain into a gasmobile.

Yup. Dedicated EV platforms is the only way to build a real EV.

Sharing a chassis with a gas car is only good for building PHEV’s.

BMW is right, they will never build an all-electric 7-series.

But will they build an all-electric i7, that’s the question πŸ™‚


Why would you convert an existing large platform ICE into a large platform BEV?

It doesn’t work.

The key question is really whether there will be an i7 in the work!

I imagine that if Porsche is going to launch an all electric sedan, then BMW can’t be far away either…

Yes, you will. Maybe not now but eventually.

Freemont, we got a problem here, we will have to drastically increase the Model 3 production since BMW won’t produce anything close. Is 1 million per year possible?

I understand the frustration, but the truth is that BMW is not interested in competing with Tesla and losing money. Bottom line is that Tesla can’t make money with current technology. Once technology is there to make a profitable long range EV BMW will make one as well. Plus they have i5 in the pipeline which will be close to what people want here, but it remains to be seen what kind of EV range it will have.

What is wrong with keeping the 7 series the way it is?

Maybe BMW will have a 7-series and an i7 eventually?

You guys (not the writter, but mostly the readers) are so narrow minded, no wonder it is called “inside EV”, NOT “inside cars”…