|BMW i3 to get a lot of company|
It seems that "Ultimate Driving Machine" will be taking on a new meaning for BMW. The automaker is reportedly about to begin an even larger push into developing electric cars, new autonomous driving technology, and other next-generation mobility development.
According to Autocar, BMW is working to bring new electric models of the X3, 3 Series, a new i5, new i6, a full-electric i8, and a Mini to market. If that happens, BMW's EV presence would be significantly increased against its current lineup, which only includes one pure electric vehicle (the i3).
The move is likely an attempt to fend off potential competition from Mercedes-Benz and VW, among other automakers.
“Now we are going to complete the second phase of our electrification strategy with plug-in models in our traditional line-up and other pure-electric drivelines for the Mini and the X3," BMW chairman Harald KrÃ¼ger said, according to Autocar.
The electric Cooper will arrive in 2019 with an 186-mile range, and an electric X3 will show up with a 311-mile range, reports said. The new i5 will be shaped as an electric equivalent to the 5 Series and will be lighter than a Tesla Model S, and the i6 will be some sort of crossover, according to Autocar.
The automaker is also apparently looking to grow its autonomous driving research and development by investing deeply in its three-way partnership with MobilEye and Intel. In this corner, it will be going up against the likes of Tesla, Uber, and Google. BMW will begin testing 40 fully self-driving cars in Munich in 2017, Reuters reports.
As for the mobility front, BMW is working to expand its ride-sharing operations with its ReachNow program. Recently, the automaker announced it would be growing ReachNow in multiple ways, including letting Mini owners rent their own cars and also bringing the services to new locations.
BMW's goal is that it will sell 500,000 EVs annually by 2025. If that sounds like it's a lot, well, that's because it is: It took BMW three years to sell its first 100,000 electric cars.