Germany’s BMW is talking with other automakers globally to search for partners to reduce the expense of electrifying its future Mini small vehicles, management board member Peter Schwarzenbauer informed Reuters.
“We are talking to lots of OEMs (producers) around the world, not only in China, (about) how to electrify smaller cars,” Schwarzenbauer stated. “There’s no final conclusion on it.”
Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor said last month it was talking about a possible venture to construct Mini vehicles in China. BMW presently does not construct Mini vehicles outside Europe.
Schwarzenbauer refused to discuss the Great Wall scenario, saying “this was speculation.”
However, he stated building smaller electric automobiles was challenging, not only because of the financial expenses, but likewise the engineering issue of fitting batteries with adequate range into a smaller vehicle package.
BMW has dealt with competitors before to share the expenses of clean vehicle technology. The automaker has a partnership with Toyota to make fuel cell vehicles.
BMW stated it prepares to launch a new, electric Mini model in 2019. Eventually, Mini could end up being a completely electric brand, focused on urban consumers, Schwarzenbauer stated.
Mini sales in the United States have dropped 10 percent through the first 10 months of this year, as demand for numerous smaller automobiles has waned in favor of sport-utility automobiles.
“It’s actually only in the United States where we are facing this with Mini,” Schwarzenbauer stated.
BMW will not attempt to reverse that pattern by adding bigger SUVs to the Mini lineup, Schwarzenbauer stated. Instead, he informed, “the way for Mini in the United States is … building the Mini brand in the direction of the electric urban mobility company.”
On a different issue, Schwarzenbauer stated BMW planned to provide a self-driving car planned to introduce in 2021 at a cost that could be below $100,000.
The iNEXT model, which BMW previewed previously this year, will be provided to people, ride hailing fleets and put into service in BMW fleets, Schwarzenbauer stated.