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BMW set to bulk up electrified line-up

Coming: BMW’s X3 xDrive30e plug-in hybrid is on the Australian planning whiteboard and is set to arrive Down Under next year.

PHEVs/EVs to make up 80 per cent of BMW Group Australia’s stable over next 12 months

6 Dec 2019

BMW Group Australia chief executive Vikram Pawah has confirmed that 80 per cent of the company’s local line-up will be electrified over the next 12 months, offering buyers an unprecedented choice of models with a plug-in hybrid and/or all-electric powertrain. 


In an interview with GoAuto, Mr Pawah said he was impatient for change and would not wait for electric vehicle charging infrastructure in Australia to catch up to the model launches occurring at a rapid pace.


BMW, along with its Mini brand, will push ahead with a local rollout that will strongly emphasise plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) as a solution to range anxiety.


“We’re going to have plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles available in most of our range by next year,” said Mr Pawah. “We’ll have it in 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series, X3, X1. You can have a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle option if you want it.


“Mini E as well, plug-in hybrid will happen as well, because here, the range of this generation plug-in hybrid vehicle is getting close to 60-70km in a single charge. The average work commute is 32km. So you could literally go every day on electric to your office or wherever you work, come back, charge it overnight, go again, without needing to use petrol.”


According to BMW Australia’s product and pricing manager (1-4 Series) and future mobility Prabs Datar, plug-in hybrids have played a pivotal role in filling the gap between the avant-garde BMW i3 that launched back in 2014 and the next generation of full-electric models.


“The next big full-electric car we’ll see is the BMW iX3,” said Mr Datar. “It’s still a while away until we can confirm a landing date for that car (in Australia) … possibly not inside the next 12 months, a bit further out than that.


“But in line with that, or very close by with the iX3 we’ll also see the i4.”


As reported, BMW has already flagged that the all-electric i4 will produce around 390kW of power and be all-wheel drive, hinting at a potential 0-100km/h time as low as four seconds.


BMW will also introduce an EV flagship based on the 2018 Vision iNext concept.


“It will be a game-changer for us as well,” said Mr Datar. “The iNext will be a slightly larger crossover SUV, at least that’s what the camouflage shots make it look like, and that’ll be pretty much our halo car when it comes to showcasing functions like autonomous driving, the fifth-generation battery and electric-motor set-up.


“And I think the biggest point of that is (the iNext is) not reliant on rare-earth materials. The motors make no use of rare-earth materials, which is great from a sustainability point of view.”


BMW Australia confirmed it is utilising the platform of the Electric Vehicle Council to encourage this push towards electric cars and electrification.


And once BMW’s electric-vehicle rollout begins, this new-model push will be fairly sustained, not just for iX3, i4 and iNext but for a variety of products in the pipeline.


Mr Pawah said he feels obligated to ensure BMW’s EV transition happens as soon as it can.


“Personally, I’m very impatient because I believe that if we’re to make a serious impact on this climate change topic that’s faced by all of us, you’ve got to make very quick decisions and you’ve got to make very quick changes,” he said.


“I know we keep on talking about this electric infrastructure – when will it be available, how will it work? Those things we’ll figure out in time itself.


“But we can still make a change today, and that’s what we are doing as a brand.


“We’ve declared to the world very clearly that we’ll have 25 electric products (including plug-in hybrids) by 2023. We currently have 13. And for me, I think plug-in hybrid is a clear, logical step for us to make the change right now.”

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