FACES

HEAD OF FU­TURE MO­BIL­ITY TEAM BMW GROUP

Torque (Singapore) - - CONTENTS -

NNOT con­tented with a de­gree in au­to­mo­tive engi­neer­ing from Mu­nich Univer­sity of Ap­plied Sci­ences, Dr Maik Böres chose to un­der­take a doc­tor­ate the­sis in hy­brid tech­nolo­gies and as­so­ci­ated com­bi­na­torics in mo­tor ve­hi­cles at the Univer­sity of Lugano, Switzer­land.

Af­ter earn­ing the right to be called a doc­tor, and armed with knowl­edge of the fu­ture in mo­tor­ing, he joined BMW in 2004. Four years later, he be­came the Man­ager of Cor­po­rate Strat­egy, as­sess­ing global CO2 and fuel con­sump­tion reg­u­la­tions, set­ting CO2 tar­gets and mon­i­tor­ing com­pli­ance.

In 2015, he was ap­pointed the team leader of BMW Group’s newly es­tab­lished Fu­ture Mo­bil­ity Team.

The “39-year-young” (he says with a chuckle) Dr Böres is mar­ried with a four-year-old daugh­ter and a two-year-old son. The fit-look­ing Ger­man (who hits the gym on his busi­ness trips) has many hob­bies, but he re­grets not hav­ing much time to in­dulge in all of them. So he chose to stick with cy­cling.

He rides a full-car­bon Can­non­dale Sy­napse with Shi­mano’s state-ofthe-art Dura-Ace Di2 elec­tronic groupset, due to his love for any­thing in re­la­tion to elec­tric mo­bil­ity.

WE RE­ALISED IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE TO IN­VEST MORE MONEY INTO THE IN­TER­NAL COM­BUS­TION EN­GINE, BE­CAUSE WHAT YOU CAN GET OUT OF IT IS VERY LIM­ITED, THEN WE SWITCHED STRAT­EGY TO ELEC­TRIC MO­BIL­ITY.

Why did you choose to do a doc­toral the­sis in mo­tor ve­hi­cle hy­brid tech­nolo­gies?

Be­cause I was al­ways in­ter­ested in tech­nol­ogy. At that time, there was a huge dis­cus­sion on a global scale at the man­u­fac­turer’s level as to what the tech­nol­ogy of fu­ture trans­port should be. There were dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies be­ing dis­cussed, and some were cu­ri­ous, like air hy­brid.

As a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer, I was most in­ter­ested to see if these dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies could fit to­gether and in­flu­ence each other.

Tell us more about BMW’s iPer­for­mance cars in­tro­duced to Sin­ga­pore re­cently.

To­day, most of our iPer­for­mance cars have 30km range, which is enough for in­ner-city emis­sion­free driv­ing. Our in­ten­tion of hav­ing plug-in hy­brid elec­tric ve­hi­cles (PHEV) is so that you can go longer dis­tances or to out­side the city when the com­bus­tion en­gine kicks in. That means you can over­come the range anx­i­eties of the cus­tomer and get them to adopt elec­tric ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy.

What is BMW’s goal for PHEVs and elec­tric cars in terms of sales ra­tio?

There is no global fig­ure for all mar­kets, be­cause it de­pends on where the in­fra­struc­ture is in each city. Our tar­get for the Euro­pean mar­ket is 20 to 25 per­cent for elec­tric and PHEV ve­hi­cles. We would like to have it at a higher level.

Cur­rently, we of­fer nine plug-in hy­brid ve­hi­cles and one purely elec­tric car in the i3. We think it is a per­fect fit.

We will later have an al­l­elec­tric MINI and then an all-elec­tric BMW X3. And we will have the iNext. In the full range, we will have 13 elec­tric cars and 25 elec­tric plug-in cars in 2025.

What is BMW’s game plan for hy­dro­gen fuel-cell cars?

Pro­duc­tion of hy­dro­gen fuel-cell cars is not the big is­sue. The largest prob­lem is the in­fra­struc­ture for them.

To­day, we are strug­gling to im­ple­ment the in­fra­struc­ture for elec­tric ve­hi­cles. It is still not there to make it con­ve­nient to use elec­tric mo­bil­ity. For hy­dro­gen, you have to in­vest in a to­tally new in­fra­struc­ture. Each and ev­ery fuel sta­tion needs to have a hy­dro­gen tank. Hy­dro­gen needs to be pro­duced from elec­tric­ity and then changed to hy­dro­gen. You store the hy­dro­gen be­fore bring­ing it into the tank of the ve­hi­cle. Then you change it again to elec­tric­ity to pro­pel your elec­tric mo­tor. So you have a lot of changes in the process, and ef­fi­ciency is not as good as a solely elec­tric ve­hi­cle. With the fast devel­op­ment of bat­ter­ies, we could go even longer dis­tances with pure bat­tery­pow­ered elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

Will au­tonomous cars con­tra­dict BMW’s DNA of driver’s cars?

As a team leader of Fu­ture Mo­bil­ity, I am cu­ri­ous about au­to­mated cars. I think it is a good tech­nol­ogy that will help make traf­fic smooth and safer.

Ac­cord­ing to US fig­ures, 94 per­cent of all accidents are caused by hu­mans. With au­to­mated cars and all their sen­sors, we can bring down that fig­ure by a large ex­tent with fewer accidents.

So the driver can de­cide to sit back and re­lax in traf­fic. Some­times, it is good if you can just close your eyes and re­lax to de-stress, and let the car drive you to wher­ever you want to go.

It is not con­tra­dic­tory to our DNA be­cause our cars have a steer­ing wheel and ped­als. So if the driver wants to drive, he has the abil­ity to do so.

What is your favourite BMW car right now?

There are so many, but what I am look­ing for­ward to is the BMW iNext, be­cause that is an elec­tric au­to­mated car.

I live in the out­skirts of Mu­nich and I travel 30 kilo­me­tres ev­ery day. If I can use the time when stuck in a traf­fic jam in an au­tonomous car to start work­ing or com­mu­ni­cate with friends, that would be great.

I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to the new tech­nol­ogy and au­to­mated cars on our streets. We will have that in 2021.

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