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BMW speeds up EV rollout in Australia
Local arm in sync with BMW decision to move forward EV rollout by two years
9 Jul 2019
BMW Group Australia has confirmed it will follow in the footsteps of its parent company by speeding up its rollout of EVs by two years, which on a global scale includes 25 electrified models to be launched by 2023.
The German prestige car-maker announced at the #NextGen event in Munich late last month that its fast-tracked new schedule would include 12 full-electric models within the timeframe.
The company also predicts its EV sales will climb significantly, by 30 per cent per year until 2025.
Despite Australia so far being a country with a relatively small appetite for alternative powertrains, BMW Group Australia head of product and market planning Brendan Michel said the local subsidiary was right behind its Munich-based parent’s product plans.
“All of those full BEVs (battery-electric vehicles), I believe there were going to be 12 of them launched between 2021 to 2025, that has all been pulled forward now,” he said.
Mr Michel added that BMW Group Australia will be going all-in on electric product despite low sales of EVs locally.
“We’ll be sticking fat (to a commitment to full-electric vehicles),” he said. “I’d say we’ll be putting our hands up for every single electric vehicle we can get.”
Following the current i3, the second full-electric BMW to arrive in Australia will be the iX3 mid-size SUV due in early 2021, based on the Chinese-market G08 X3 that features a longer wheelbase than the standard G01 model sold here due to the space required to fit batteries under the vehicle floor.
Mr Michel said it was not yet confirmed if Australian-market versions will be built in China, with the alternative production facility being the Spartanburg factory in the US.
When asked if Australia’s low appetite for EVs would push us to the back of the global queue for EV production, Mr Michel said allocation would be fixed.
“No, we won’t be pushed back because of that,” he said. “There is a set production month for every single country and that won’t be factored into it.”
Following the arrival of the iX3, two more full-electric models will arrive in Australia before the end of 2021.
“There is the Vision Dynamics car which is based on a 4 Series Gran Coupe, I think that’s going to be called the i4, we’re expecting mid-to-late 2021 for that one,” Mr Michel said.
“And also the iNext which will be a full-size SUV. It’s an X5 in size. Yet to be officially named, but we’re expecting the same time as i4, which is late ’21.”
Mr Michel added that BMW Group Australia is currently working on plans to install charging infrastructure across its dealer network and that in two to three years every BMW dealer will be required to sell and service plug-in hybrids and full EVs.
Also premiered at the #NextGen event was the Vision M Next concept car, a hybrid petrol-electric supercar paying homage to the original BMW M1 and featuring a 2.0-litre petrol engine, two electric motors, 440kW of power and a 300km/h top speed.
Mr Michel said the integration of electrification into the M range was inevitable and that the M division will likely feature both hybrid and full-electric models in its line-up.
“They’ll probably have both,” he said. “I think it’s inevitable that there will be electrification at some stage, whether it be plug-in hybrids or full BEVs,” he said.
“I think if you take the current M5 and add a hybrid system into it, it adds another instant 250Nm of torque, you can imagine the current one with 1000Nm, what it does to the performance of that car – I don’t think that it’s a bad thing, I think it’s probably going to be a really good thing.
“And extra battery weight – I think the engineers have already spoken publicly about that, but they said they will go down using lightweight materials to offset that, so it’s still going to drive like an M car.”
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