BMW rolls out new strategy, focusing on further advances in e-mobility and automated driving; Project i 2.0
BMW has revealed initial details of its new strategy, “Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT”. The BMW Group sees digitalization as an opportunity to make mobile life simpler, safer and more convenient, thereby capturing new customer groups. In the coming years, the Group will focus on broadening its technological expertise, expanding the scope of digital connectivity between people, vehicles and services and actively strengthening sustainable mobility.
BMW’s technology focus will therefore be on consistently achieving further advances in the fields of electric mobility and automated driving. Under the banner of BMW iNEXT, the BMW Group will bring new forms of automated driving and digital connectivity together with a new generation of electric mobility, lightweight construction and interior design. BMW said that it would usher in the next decade with a new BMW i model.
The leading role of BMW i in terms of development is already being reflected in the increased scale of electrification in other models. The current plug-in hybrids are in their third generation. With the fourth generation, the electric range will be extended. Development of the fifth generation, which will bring further progress in all areas is already underway.
This technology transfer is the basis for the plug-in hybrid BMW iPerformance models. (Earlier post.) From 2016 onwards the BMW Group will have seven models in its range, which will be either purely electrically powered, like the BMW i3, or feature a combination of combustion engine and electric motor as plug-in hybrid solutions. Further models are due to follow in the coming years, including a plug-in hybrid MINI. In addition, the award-winning plug-in hybrid sports car BMW i8 will be added to by an open-top BMW i8 roadster.
By the end of 2016, the Group’s electric vehicle portfolio will be expanded to include a BMW i3 that features increased battery capacity and additional range.
The BMW Group also continues to develop hydrogen fuel-cell technology; the current test vehicles achieve a range up to 700 kilometers (435 miles). The company believes that a variety of drivetrain systems will exist alongside each other in the future. This expectation is fully reflected in the BMW Group’s current vehicle architecture, which includes all conventional and alternative drivetrain systems.
Project i 2.0 for automated driving. Project i enabled the company to build up the necessary expertise in electric mobility early on, while at the same time ensuring it could be realized on an industrial scale. With project i 2.0, the BMW Group is now following an equally ambitious path with respect to automated and fully networked driving.
BMW will focus on high definition digital maps, sensor technology, cloud technology and artificial intelligence, the decisive areas for success in this segment. With the investment in HERE the BMW Group has already secured the availability of high definition maps.
Our focus is clear: we are securing the BMW Group’s position as technological market leader. With project i 2.0 we will lead the field of autonomous driving. We will turn research projects into new kinds of industrial processes, bringing future technology onto the road.—Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management responsible for Development
The new BMW 7 Series, equipped with a stereo camera and five radar sensors, stays in lane and maintains a safe distance to the vehicle ahead, even when driving up to 210 km/h (130 mph) on highways. The BMW 7 Series is able to drive itself into the garage at the push of a button using Remote Control Parking.
To further extend its lead in the field of automated driving, the BMW Group will be transferring these technologies to other models during the coming years. New sensor technology and more powerful software will allow rapid progress to be made in the field of automated driving, with the coming BMW iNEXT setting the benchmark.
Digitalization and services. New technologies not only make driving more comfortable, they also forge the link between the mobility of the future and other areas of life. BMW Connected already acts as a personalized companion for its customers, providing a broad array of information to serve their mobility needs. The system becomes increasingly acquainted with the user’s favourite routes and driving habits, thus enabling it to provide warnings of road closures or congestion ahead and suggest alternative routes.
The BMW Group was also quick to recognize the increasing importance of other digital services, delivering products such as DriveNow, ParkNow and ChargeNow. The BMW Group will announce the next steps in enhancing these various services during the current year, consistently and rapidly expanding its mobility services.
Apart from the services it is developing in its own right, the BMW Group is also investing in a number of promising start-ups and service providers via BMW i Ventures. This entity enables the Group to swiftly identify and respond to worldwide mobility trends.
Traditional business. The long and capital-intensive investment cycles that exist in the automotive sector, combined with the product’s long life span, mean these technology-driven changes will not occur abruptly. The BMW Group expects a transformation that will steadily gather pace, but nevertheless stretch over a long period and develop diversely from one region to the next. This is already fully reflected in the BMW Group’s current vehicle architectures, which include all conventional and alternative drivetrain systems.
One example of this is the combustion engine, which will continue to play a major role for many years to come, BMW said. There will be no let-up in the BMW Group’s efforts to improve the efficiency of established processes and continually optimise the technologies involved. Under the banner of Efficient Dynamics NEXT, development work on existing drivetrain technologies continues unabated, always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of combustion engines.