BMW i3 Charging

BMW i3 Charging

BMW X5 xDrive40e

BMW X5 xDrive40e

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 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