BMW looks into the future and shows new i4
At the BMW Group’s annual conference, CEO Oliver Zipse started his keynote speech with his view from a long-term perspective, assembled in five beliefs. At the same time, the production version of the i4 has been revealed.
“At BMW, our decisions are based on a long-term perspective,” said Zipse. “That makes anticipating how the world around us will change even more important. What are the big issues of our time that concern us all and demand joint answers?”
“My first belief is that effective climate protection can only be achieved through the intensive use of technology, Zipse continued. “Science and technology-based innovation are key to making the world carbon-neutral. This will require industry-wide networking, with the active support of the policy.”
“Doubts, unilateral technology determination, and politics of interest only hinder this process. To make real progress, we need the biggest efforts in all areas where they have been proven to deliver the greatest impact. Sacrifice is not an option.”
Secondly, Zipse is convinced that industrialization needs the right timing. “The success of a technical invention depends, first, on the ability to industrialize under highly complex conditions and, second, on finding the right timing.”
“These two factors, combined, determine whether an innovation gains traction in the marketplace. Physical industrialization will remain valuable to society, even in the digital age – especially, as the two merge into one and result in progress.”
BMW’s number one is concerned with the rapid exhaustion of our natural resources. That’s why he says that the future of our planet demands circularity.
“Every year, humanity uses more than 100 billion tons of raw materials. Anyone wanting to use our earth’s scarce resources for their business model in the future will need to have excellent reasons.”
“We must turn the narrative around – from a taken-for-granted, unquestioned use of primary materials to the primacy of secondary materials. Let’s reduce our dependencies. Every time we think about using raw materials, we should ask: ‘How much do we need and what do we want to use it for? Are there better options?'”
The number four in Zipse’s beliefs is digitization. The CEO is persuaded that digitization serves humankind.
“Digitization has long been a commodity, and we look to take advantage of it. Think about the images the Mars Rover has been sending us over the past few days. How those shots were taken is secondary. What counts is their magic.”
“Digitalization is there alongside us wherever we go. It makes our lives easier. We expect it to work – without being too obvious. In doing so, it needs to be human and will become even ‘more human’.”
According to the CEO, growth will remain the most important economic currency.
“Global companies need to recognize where markets are headed – both progressive ones and those that are more established. All markets have the potential for growth and profitability.”
“Markets will continue to develop in different ways – in terms of pace, technology, and the framework conditions. Companies with a strong ability to serve different markets with the right technologies and products will have the best prospects for further growth and profitability.”
BMW i4 production version
At its annual meeting, there was also the reveal of an all-important model for BMW, the production version of the new i4 electric sedan. The i4 is a fully electric four-door Gran Coupé that will appear on the market in 2021, three months ahead of schedule.
“With its sporty looks, the best driving dynamics in its class, and emission-free driving pleasure, the i4 is a true BMW,” said Pieter Nota, BMW board member responsible for Customer, Brands, and Sales.
The i4 will become available in different versions, one of them being an M Performance model. The car will offer a range of up to 590 km (WLTP) and power up to 390 kW/530 hp, guaranteeing an acceleration from 0 to 100 kph in four seconds. More details will be released in the weeks to come.
‘Neue Klasse’ to spearhead product range from 2025
The final phase of BMW’s transformation will take effect from 2025 onward, at which stage the BMW Group’s product range will be realigned based on the ‘Neue Klasse’.
Three key aspects will characterize this Neue Klasse: a completely redefined IT and software architecture, a new generation of high-performance electric drivetrains and batteries, and a radically new approach to sustainability across the entire vehicle’s life cycle.
“The BMW Group is never satisfied with what it has achieved so far – that’s what sets it apart from the rest of the field. This spirit will characterize the Neue Klasse: high tech on four wheels for customers intent on experiencing in just five years how mobility will feel in 2030,” said Zipse.
The Neue Klasse’s aerodynamic design will be uncompromisingly aimed at electric vehicles with proportions that differ from the past, including a more spacious interior.
These innovative features will be combined with a new generation of electric drivetrains based on a completely newly developed, highly integrated high-voltage battery concept with an optimized cell design.
The new generation of powertrains will be based on scalable modules capable of covering all market segments and Neue Klasse variants from high-volume series to exclusive high-performance M models.
An electric drivetrain based on the hydrogen fuel cell is also a distinct option in the future. The typical BMW driving experience will be enhanced by focusing on fully electric vehicles’ design features, including options for state-of-the-art driver assistance systems and highly automated driving.