BMW will offer a full hybrid version of its new 5 Series as early as next year, according to Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, speaking at the company’s 90th Annual General Meeting today in Munich. BMW presented the BMW Concept 5 Series ActiveHybrid—its first combination of a BMW straight-six with electric drive—at the Geneva show this year. (Earlier post.)
The company is also anticipating the hybridization of further models series, such as the BMW 3 Series, Reithofer said. BMW currently has launched two hybrids into series production, the X6 and the 7 Series.
So our state-of-the-art BMW ActiveHybrid technology has made the leap into series production. Our top priority is the large model series because this is where the savings potential is greatest.
The public perceives hybrid as a sign of eco-friendliness, despite the fact that diesel engines are often much more efficient. In Japan, for instance, the government has adopted a proposal to offer tax credits for hybrid vehicles. This has had a phenomenal effect on the market. Sales of hybrid vehicles have skyrocketed. If you don’t have a hybrid in your portfolio, soon you might not be selling any cars in Japan at all.
Reithofer also said that the time is ripe for the broad-based application of electric vehicle technology. Based on responses so far from the international MINI-E test program, he said, BMW has concluded that:
- Many enthusiastic customers for e-mobility already exist today.
- There is no need to wait until conditions are ideal for e-mobility, with a network of electric fillings stations in place, etc. “We can implement e-mobility today.”
The Megacity Vehicle will be the BMW Group’s first series-produced electric vehicle. The vehicle will launched in 2013 as a BMW sub-brand, and will be built in Germany. Leipzig will become the Competence Center for E-Mobility in Production. Two Bavarian sites, Wackersdorf and Landshut, will be involved in this project as well.
Reithofer highlighted two key partnerships for the realization of the Megacity vehicle: the joint venture with SGL Carbon for carbon fiber, and the cooperation with SB Limotive for high-performance lithium-ion batteries.