Electric Car Interview With BMW CEO

AUG 22 2015 BY STAFF 28

BMW’s new CEO, Harald Krueger spoke exclusively with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung about the current state of BMW affairs and what’s coming in the future. Among many topics, the German outlet also talked about the relationship between BMW and Apple, and how will that play out in the future. The electric SUV topic also came up, along with the Formula 1 return rumors.

Here are a few of the electric car-related questions from the interview held earlier this month.

*Note: Full transcript from the interview found here on BMWBLOG.

Apple CEO Tim Cook came for a visit and you supposedly talked about cooperation: What exactly is BMW planning with Apple? Are you selling your i3 carbon body to California?

We hold regular talks with companies from the international IT industry – and the same applies to Apple. The discussions were about vehicle connectivity within our Connected Drive Services.

What if Apple, with all those billions in the bank, had the idea of buying BMW?

Then I think I would know about it. But, no, seriously: We have a shareholder structure that enables long-term, forward-looking development of the company. Our autonomy is one of our core strengths and the basis for our company’s success – it is firmly embedded in our DNA.

What characteristics does a BMW car powered by an electric motor have?

As soon as you drive an i3 or an i8, you realise that dynamic performance and electro-mobility don’t have to be a contradiction in terms. We have redefined our legendary “sheer driving pleasure”. Successful premium products share a number of characteristics – including unique product substance and quality, as well as design and a strong brand. That is what makes our cars so desirable, combined with the BMW tradition – the history of our brand. The origin of the brand is very important to our customers. I was recently amazed by a group of Chinese customers who were able tell me the whole model history of the legendary BMW 2002 all the way to the current 3 Series – they knew what they were talking about and were very enthusiastic.

But no one is buying electric cars. Why is that?

“No one” certainly doesn’t apply to our BMW i cars. In the first half of this year, we sold more than 12,500 BMW i cars worldwide – about one out of every ten in Germany. There are a number of reasons why electric-car business is not so dynamic currently – one of them is that the network of charging stations is not yet as dense as we would like it to be. But we only have a limited influence on that.

But it is your responsibility to build cars with a bigger range.

We are working on it. Range is an argument – even though 150 kilometres is enough for most people to commute to work and back. Many people are worried about being stranded – and that makes customers nervous: They test-drive the i3, they love it – but then some of them still order a BMW 1 Series. Driving an electric car has not yet become a learned and practiced behaviour. Change processes take time.

Categories: BMW


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28 Comments on "Electric Car Interview With BMW CEO"

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I wish they would ask them why a CF car weighs more than some steel ones the same subcompact size?
It should weigh 40% less.
And why the REX weighs 360lbs when it should weigh 120lbs?
Hardly advanced.

Gee.. could that enormous battery have something to do with it? And how do you come up with a Rex that weighs only 120 lbs? Keep in mind it isn’t just the engine, but there is the generator, gas tank, emissions systems, power converter, and a whole bunch of other things to go along. 360 pounds is impressive to me!

David the battery is 600lbs so where is the rest?
A CF body, chassis shouldn’t weigh over 300lbs as a steel one weighs just 600lbs.
So motor, body/chassis, battery, suspension, etc comes to about 1400lbs at most on the BEV version.
Yet it weighs 2600lbs, the same as steel versions, 300 lbs more than some.
The only reason to use CF is it’s weight advantage yet there is none.
Hardly an advance.

The next time you’re in your car, take a minute to look around you, at the seats, the steering wheel, the dashboard, the stereo. Think about the things you can’t see, like the heater and the air conditioner, and everything else in the car that’s not actually a part of the body or the suspension.

Then think about how much that all weighs.

The carbon fiber composite in the BMW i3’s body certainly does reduce the car’s weight. But it doesn’t magically make the weight of everything else in the car go away.

Krueger – “There are a number of reasons why electric-car business is not so dynamic currently – one of them is that the network of charging stations is not yet as dense as we would like it to be. But we only have a limited influence on that.”


BS. Your cars are too expensive and if Tesla, who’s much smaller than BMW, can build a worldwide network of high-speed chargers, BMW could easily do something as well.


BMW is not interested in a proprietary solution. They want chargers that any car can use. That implies a shared investment or a state investment.

So why don’t they work on a shared investment instead of just saying “we have little influence”? Note Nissan is putting in dual-standard chargers. Yes they are located at their dealerships, but still, they are installing a charger with a CCS plug that the Leaf cannot even use.

Tesla has stated that others are welcome to use their charger network if they chip in. They made their system due to the current requirements, not to be “proprietary”.

Tesla is the company who gave away all their patents – I doubt they would also be the kind of people who would hog their supercharger network either.

Still futzing about with PHEVs, even going as far as to ICE the i3 with the putt-putt “range extender” instead of thinking forward and adding Li-ion capacity.

Meanwhile in California and Nevada the future is in full gear, Tesla of course.

I’d like to buy a $43k Tesla! Oh, right–Tesla’s start at double that.

You can buy a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Tesla for under $60,000 and the used market is starting at about $50,000 and they still have their original 8-year/unlimited mile warranty, at least for ones with the 85kWH battery. Wait another year and they will be starting in the $40k range and still have 4-5 years of warranty

Tesla soldier boys… always pathetic. Look ma. I can buy a totaled Ferrari for 20k quid. LOL

This guy bought a Tesla for $42,900 : http://gas2.org/2015/08/20/cheapest-tesla-model-s-yet/


In about three years, you’ll get your wish. In the meantime, lease a Volt for ~ $200-$250 / month and make the lease payments with the fuel savings.

Most people driving a car out of warranty are paying close to half that in maintenance costs alone. (on an annual basis).

Wisely purchased and operated, electric cars are nearly free compared to Gasmobiles.

You’re welcome to your opinion. Myself, I’ll take the range extender any day over a larger battery. Until charging stations are as ubiquitous and reliable as gas stations, an EV will always be crippled even if it has 500 miles of range. BMW is the ONLY manufacturer out there that has offered a car with the range of a fully electric vehicle (like the Leaf) and then given us a range extender on top of that.

I don’t find your characterization of a 500 mile range ev as being “crippled” accurate.
In fact Tesla has cars with much less range than that, and they are certainly not crippled.
I think you are right though that with low range evs having a range extender, depending on how much you drive, is a good idea.

Because even a Tesla, with the super-charger network is still limited to go only where the super chargers are located. Once you go off the trail, you are screwed. And sometimes that means also having to take a route that is less direct and more time consuming to make sure you can use a supercharger.

I guarantee you I could do a cross-country drive in an i3 Rex in less time and with more flexibility than a Tesla right now.

That’s a bet you would most certainly lose. You may not be aware of the significant limitations of the i3’s REX, but it is not something you can just keep pouring fuel into and then keep going. The REX is simply an emergency tool to eek out a few more miles along with the remaining battery. It is very different than the Volt which can go it’s whole life without ever being plugged in.

On a “cross country” trip, an i3 would require more frequent and much longer stops than a Tesla.

It looks like you’re not understanding the REx, because that’s exactly how it works.

It would require more frequent, but shorter stops.

I’m very familiar with the i3 and it’s very useful, but limited REX. It’s not designed for continuous use. If you don’t believe me, do one of the free 24 hour test drives, run down the battery to REX mode and then keep driving. Do some highway driving like you would cross country. When the gas runs out, put more in. Keep driving, highway driving like you would cross country. Report back with your experiences after a very slow trip home.

hahah.. That is a myth perpetuated by the anti-BMW crowd. Let’s just say I am intimately familiar with the i3 and have spent plenty of time behind the wheel. I would have zero reservations about driving it across country. And yes, you can stop and refill the tank and keep driving. And yes, you’d have to stop about once an hour to put fuel in the car, but the stop would be 5 minutes tops. The Tesla would have to stop every 2 to 3 hours and sit there for 30 to 60 minutes.

I could not disagree with you more. As an owner of both an i3 and a Tesla, I would never take my i3 on a cross country road trip, but we just did a 5100 mile road trip in the tesla, including leaving the main supercharger corridors several times (to visit Dinosaur Nat Park, Mt Rushmore, and Glacier Nat Park). Stopping every hour or so, even just for 5 minutes (although it is much more if you count the total lost time compared to not leaving the freeway) would get very old very quickly. Stopping ever 2-3 hours for 20-30 minutes seems natural, most of the times we did it, we stopped longer than we needed to, just because it took longer to eat than that. And the final nail, speed. When I was going through Utah and the speed limit went up to 80 MPH, I had no reservations taking the Tesla that fast, because although it would really reduce my range, the extra few minutes charging at the next supercharger would be the fastest charging part of the cycle, so might only add a couple minutes charge time, which would likely be made up in the faster transit… Read more »

Definitely not anti-BMW crowd here, but I’ve read examples stories to understand the limitations. The REX is not intended for continuous driving. You’d probably be ok until you hit an incline and then you’ll be in trouble. This is because the REX does not provide enough power to fully run the vehicle. BMW themselves state that the REX is not intended for continuous use. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1082814_bmw-i3-electric-car-rex-range-extender-not-for-daily-use/page-2

Superchargers, OTOH, are intended for and strategically placed for cross-country travel.

If you’re looking for a cross country, electric BMW right now, it will have to be the i8. I’m sure BMW will have a better option available for long range soon, but the current i3 isn’t it.

“Because even a Tesla, with the super-charger network is still limited to go only where the super chargers are located. Once you go off the trail, you are screwed.” David Murray Er, WHAT!, Nr. Murray? 1) Over 30,000 L2 EV Filling Station’s dot North America. According To Plug Share, 63% of them are FREE. I Know, I’ve used most of em! haha Link Goes To Plug share Dot Com. The number one global crowd sourced, Google Maps based EV Filling Station Finder. Zoom way in or imput address- http://www.plugshare.com/ 2) > 1.5 Billion 110V AC Outlets, N. America, All #EV’s Refuel This Way. Nails 100% Daily Range (40 Miles) For 74% U.S. Drivers. —-]= “And sometimes that means also having to take a route that is less direct and more time consuming to make sure you can use a supercharger.” Maybe- Here’s a great story. Two guys leave El Paso, Texas on an afternoon drive and find themselves in Panama some days later without a SuperCharger or L2 #EV Filling Station network in site! That, my friend David, is estimated to be over 2,987 miles in a Tesla Model S, one Way! A fricken great story! “Three days we had… Read more »

Calling a 500 mile range BEV “crippled” while extolling the “virtues” of the BMW i3 REx with its woefully underpowered, scooter motor range extender.

The irony there is so thick it actually has texture.

BMW is just pretending otherwise there would already be an i5 with a normal size body and a normal size rex fuel tank on the market right now.

In an interview published on Sunday, Musk described BMW’s production of carbon fiber reinforced car body parts as “interesting” and “relatively cost efficient. BMW uses carbon fibres from its joint venture with materials supplier SGL to make reinforced passenger cell parts for its i3 electric hatchback and i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.