BMW R&D Chief: ‘Energy transition with the consumer, not against him’

The German car manufacturer BMW Group sees in the evolution of the car market a confirmation of its credo: an open technology with ample room for BEVs but also attention to other solutions, even (at least for a certain period) internal combustion engines.

Frank Weber, BMW’s Head of R&D, said in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “We are talking about a gigantic transformation of industrial structures. We can’t possibly halt the ICE technology overnight.”

“When we look at the car sales figures in Germany or Europe, it is obvious that this transition must occur with the consent of the customer, not against his will. Our motto is: no matter which drive someone buys at BMW, we will always serve him the best we can.”

Transitions take time

Weber sees that the energy transition to an EV ecosystem also creates problems to be solved. “Ultimately, the new ecosystem must be much more sustainable than the old. For the electric car, that means a lot of challenges to be met: battery production, acquiring rare earth metals, a decent charging infrastructure, and a real closed loop in recycling.”

“With all its material and energy flows, this transition takes a certain time; you can’t realize it overnight. And if all conditions are set, we can switch off the ICE engine.”

The current 3 Series is still BMW’s best-seller in Germany, offered with all kinds of ICE engines and hybrids, but no fully electric drive /BMW

Neue Klasse

The building principles of the coming new class of BMW vehicles, the ‘Neue Klasse’ – which will be shown for the first time at the IAA Mobility show in Munich on the 4th of September – will also be used in all other segments and will open totally new possibilities for BMW. “One could see this ‘Neue Klasse’ as the snowplow to reach the technology hub we want to realize.

So, the road to go is clear: BMW doesn’t want to put all its eggs in one basket. It is further investigating hydrogen technology and will deliver ICE engines as long as the world market asks for it. BMW Group is no frontrunner in the research for e-fuels, but it will undoubtedly also use it in its ICE engines if it is economically feasible.




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