BMW an­nounced its way for­ward, and it’s elec­try­ing.

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

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.’

PHOTO: BMW

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

BMW pre­dicts elec­tric cars will, for the next decade at least, use a mix of power sources to drive the mo­tors.

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