BMW announced its way forward, and it’s electrying.
BMW AG expects sales of its electrified vehicles to surge in the next decade as the technology hits the mainstream, but don’t see prices coming down in the next four years.
In his talk at the 26th Aachen Colloquium Automobile and Engine Technology, Klaus Fröhlich, board member at BMW AG development, presented the full spectrum of drive technologies possible in the future.
One of the key messages of his speech centred on how the challenge of keeping both customers and lawmakers happy by meeting all their requirements would call for a wide variety of different drive systems. “There will be no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution,” stated Fröhlich confidently. “We see the approach of using myriad technologies continuing for many years.”
Although it is true that internal combustion engines will decline in importance in the medium term, they will play a vital role for a long time to come and still offer potential that could be tapped into with additional investment.
However, a wide spread of evolutionary advances will be needed to meet future requirements with respect to CO2 and other emissions, and 48 V energy recuperation systems will play an increasingly important role in this regard.
The proportion of electrified vehicles on the roads is growing steadily. In the U.S. and a number of European countries, demand is increasing at a faster pace than in Germany. Here, too, sales figures received a major boost from the launch of the BMW i3 with new 94 Ah battery. August saw worldwide sales of the BMW i3 rise by over 70% compared to the previous 12 months.
There is tremendous potential for electric mobility in China, although this is subject to considerable local variation. Electric mobility will continue to be multifaceted in nature for a long while yet, guided by the particular concept and market at hand. A total of 34 664 BMW i and BMW iPerformance models had been sold in 2016 up to the end of August. A significant fall in electric vehicle costs is not expected until after 2020.
It will be a few years before the battery electric vehicle (BEV) becomes the all-encompassing solution for customers and model classes across the board.
Pure battery-electric drive systems allow customers whose daily journeys don’t generally exceed 100 kilometres to enjoy zero-emission electric driving in small- to medium-sized vehicles.
When it comes to medium-length journeys and mid-size vehicles, the BMW Group offers an extremely wide choice of plug-in hybrid models (PHEVs). These all-rounders offer an entry point into customer-focused e-mobility in many segments.
Meanwhile, hydrogen-powered fuelcell electric vehicles offer the ideal combination of zero-emission motoring and everyday practicality when extended ranges and high running resistances are required. What is lacking here, though, is the requisite hydrogen infrastructure and production set-up, and the large-scale manufacture of hydrogen fuel-cell technology is only expected to become viable by 2026.
The latest demonstrator and research vehicle with a hydrogen fuel-cell electric drive system is derived from the BMW Group’s modular electrification toolkit. Partner networks, such as the one that exists between the BMW Group and Toyota, are an excellent way of arriving at objectives more quickly and cost-effectively. Fröhlich outlined the road map to hydrogen-powered fuel-cell electric driving as follows: “BMW will enter the fuel cell market early in the next decade, starting with very small production runs. However, until 2025 at least costs will remain too high and the hydrogen infrastructure too sparse to allow broad-based market penetration.” — WR.
KLAUS FRÖHLICH, board member at BMW ‘A significant fall in electric vehicle costs is not expected until after 2020.’
BMW predicts electric cars will, for the next decade at least, use a mix of power sources to drive the motors.