EV and autonomous tech R&D is not exactly cheap.
Developing new automotive technologies is never cheap, and this all the more true when it comes to electric vehicles and autonomous technologies. In case you haven’t noticed, BMW is lagging behind its two main German rivals, VW Group and Mercedes-Benz, in both areas, but that will soon change. According to Autocar, BMW is already on an R&D blitz and helping to pay for it requires something the automaker very much knows how to do: sell luxury cars.
BMW marketing chief Ian Robertson has confirmed the automaker will launch more luxury models in the near future, including the possibility of an SUV even larger and more luxurious than the upcoming X7. “We are intent on expanding our footprint in the luxury segment,” said Robertson. “We see it as a growth engine, and an ability to be more profitable. We need to generate new ideas for the business model, as we go through the transition to a technology business from a car company. It requires investment. Expanding the luxury segment is key to this strategy.” Other upcoming new luxury models will include the just revealed i8 Roadster, 8 Series, M9, and Z4. BMW is planning to launch 25 new EVs by 2025, so that income will be needed soon.
In fact, Robertson confirmed BMW has trademarked every model name between i1 and i9, along with iX1 to iX9. The costs of developing batteries and autonomous systems actually costs more than any other R&D investment BMW has ever made. Along with an electrified X3, due to arrive in 2020, BMW will launch a production version of the iVision Dynamics concept the following year. It will feature Level 3 autonomous technology and, at the same time, be capable of Level 4 and Level 5 once legislation allows for them. And yes, Robertson reiterated that every future BMW, regardless of new tech, will come with a steering wheel as standard. We’re just not ready yet for the ‘Ultimate Self-Driving Machine.’