BMW drives to slash battery costs, share expenses on autonomous vehicles

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German automaker BMW AG prepares more deals with mining companies to secure electric vehicle battery materials, and is open to establishing alliances to share the expenses of developing autonomous-vehicle systems, the automaker’s research and development chief informed Reuters.

BMW management board member Klaus Froehlich stated automakers and large providers have started to discuss how to agree on one standard for autonomous-vehicle systems. Froehlich has stated in the past automakers and providers should agree on a single standard.

“Everybody has an interest or should have an interest” in common autonomous-vehicle standards, Froehlich stated previously this week during an event to show off a futuristic, electric and autonomous sport utility vehicle.

Froehlich made his comments prior a report in Automotive News on Friday that Volkswagen is taking interest in an industry alliance to standardize autonomous vehicle systems.

On batteries, Froehlich stated, BMW is pursuing a strategy aimed at securing lower-cost batteries than competitors, in part by controlling the supply of raw materials for their battery-making partners.

“We will have agreements with mining companies,” Froehlich stated. “We have one agreement. There will be more.” A major issue, he said, is securing cobalt from mines that do not exploit employees or hire children.

The automaker rode a wave of electric vehicle marketing this month by European luxury brands. The German automakers and competitors, consisting Tata Motors Ltd’s Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo Cars, a unit of China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Inc, are preparing new electric models.

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