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.