Desperate times call for creative answers.
Whether they admit it or not, most automakers, specifically German premium brands, were completely caught off guard by Tesla. Seemingly overnight, the Silicon Valley-based carmaker made EVs sexy, a feat no other brand had been able to do. The BMW i3, let’s face it, is dull. But BMW has learned its lesson and according to Automotive News Europe, it’s about to embark on a new electrification push, aided by fast-paced high tech startup companies. You see, BMW has a new strategy called iNext, and it consists of four pillars:
Automated, Connected, Electrified, and Shared. It even has its own acronym, ACES. In order to keep up with the rapid pace of tech development in today’s world, BMW wants to work with startups in order to benefit from their speed and "out-of-the-box" approach. You know, like Tesla. BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer told Automotive News Europe this strategy was almost unheard of just a few years ago for a couple of reasons, one being that tech companies had a "very arrogant" attitude to traditional automakers, almost thinking "you are already dead and you just don’t know it."
But that attitude is changing because, not at all shockingly, those same companies have learned just how hard and complex it is to build cars. "They still look at carmakers with arrogance, but a little less so than in the past," Schwarzenbauer added. The practice of leveraging fresh ideas from tech companies could very well work in BMW’s long-term favor, and it even has three different companies to specifically help startups: Silicon Valley-based BMW I Ventures, Munich-based BMW Startup Garage and New York-based Urban-X, which is actually run by Mini and is considered an accelerator for re-imagining city life.
Although BMW put some 100,000 electrified models on the road between 2013 and 2016, and another 100,000 are coming this year, it now realizes it must do a better of job getting the message out that it’s on board with a mobile and electrified future.