BMW to launch three new electric vehicles over next six months

The German-based luxury car maker has set a target that electric vehicles would make 50 per cent of its global sales by 2030.

Published: 26th November 2021 11:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2021 06:02 PM   |  A+A-

President of BMW Group India Vikram Pawah

Express News Service

Vikram Pawah, President, BMW Group India says the company is on track to launch three fully new electric cars in the next six months taking their product offensive on new models to the next level. Pawah also added that “Shy Tech” will make its way into other cars down the road, the company’s factory in Chennai is on track to be 100 per cent “green and clean” and that the market is finally looking up for luxury cars. Edited excerpts:

Q. The buzzword in auto today is all about electricity and a clean environment - where is BMW in regards to that for India? 

Vikram Pawah:  So,  we are taking our product offensive to the next level and we are taking it to the pure electric mobility level. We will be launching three fully electric models, over the next 180 days. iX in the next 30 days. MINI Electric, in the next 90 days and BMW i4 which is the Sedan in 180 days. But today we will start talking about iX.  Remember, we were the first ones to launch electricity in India in 2015 with i8, and we are the first ones to give this wide choice in such a short span as well. So that way, we are leading the order in electric mobility in India.  On the iX,  there are a few elements and insights that I want to share with you about this product - it is the first product that doesn't have a numeral in it.  

The iX signifies that it is the first BMW which is all-electric, all-wheel drive and it is a Sports Activity Vehicle and is the flagship of our new technology as well, which is driving pleasure which will be retained with electric as well. 

Q.  BMW’s global leadership has talked about how just driving electric cars is not enough for promoting green clean environments? 

Vikram Pawah: We combine luxury and sustainability now, and what that means is that the iX is the first model which has comprehensive use of either natural materials or recyclable materials. It is also the first car which is produced with 100% green electricity. It has zero rare earth metals and zero raw materials that are taken from deep-sea mining. None of those things is there in the iX. 

Q. BMW has also talked about ”Shy Tech” Tell us more and will it be in your cars in India as well? 

Vikram Pawah: So, let me give you a context to that. It is basically a technology that actually exists in the car but is not visible. It will become visible only when you have use for it and the purpose behind it is let's say all these complex technologies that are coming into the car, they might make it overpowering for some people. So, the idea is to hide these technologies and make them visible only when you use them. This includes simple things like; speakers are so well integrated into the car panels that they are not visible anymore. Other features like door locks, heated surfaces etc. included. 

Q. Will these shy tech features make their way into regular cars as well or only be in electric cars? 

Vikram Pawah: This is the flagship of our technology, and as always, we learn from the new launches; new models and deploy depending on the lead of those segments. So let me give you an example of gesture control. We launched it with the 5 series initially when we launched it, 4 years ago. That was the first time when we launched it but now you can see, it is there is most of our offerings. So, the idea is to develop the technology further. Every time we launch something new like this, it becomes the flagship of our technology.

Q. Broadly,  would you be able to give me some idea as to let’s say by 2030, what percentage of your fleet will be electric?

Vikram Pawah: In India, it is very difficult to put that number because we don't have visibility of how the charging infrastructure will be in India by 2030. But, I think, globally, we have said that 50% of our sales will come from electric, globally. So, every market will be different but that is a broad marker. For India in the short term electric will still be a niche segment because infrastructure is not fully available in every city, even though we will create infrastructure for charging at every dealer point that we have. Every customer will get a mounted AC charger along with a car. But still, we haven't seen many charging networks available as of now and until we see a clear path of how many charging stations will be there across the country, we cannot say anything. If you tell me that there will be 1 million or 50,000 charging stations by 2022 then maybe I can estimate the volume, depending on the city. I don't have that visibility at the moment. Hence, it is difficult for me to pen down the number whereas globally in the major markets, we already know how the charging infrastructure is going to develop or what kind of incentives are available in various countries like Europe or what regulations are going to be by 2028-2030. In India, we don't have that visibility in the longer term and in the major markets like the US, Europe and China, we have those visibilities so there we are able to estimate and hence we can say globally we are confident that we will be at 50% sales.

Q. For BMW in terms of charging networks or charging devices, any devices that you are planning to roll out?

Vikram Pawah: We have been working on this for a very long time. BMW has tied up with the IONITY network that is in Europe in a collaborative way with other manufacturers in creating a charging network. We believe that the charging network is going to be a more collaborative approach because this is more about a service provision just like petrol stations for the future. It would be a truly collaborative approach, that's our view. We are approaching it in India as well like we said that 3 levels of charging setups we are doing, one is either at your home or at the office when you buy the car, 2nd is at the dealer network which is accessible to you as well during all times of the day and 3rd is the tying up with the third-party providers who are setting up the charging network. Hence, it would be a collaborative approach from our perspective. 

Q. The MINI Cooper is already a little bit on the pricier side so if you are going to bring in an all-electric version as a CBU make it astronomically expensive? 

Vikram Pawah:  Let’s ask this question in 90 days. You will get the answer for sure. I promise you.

Q. How much energy is created by photovoltaic usage in your Chennai plant. 

Vikram Pawah: So, currently there is a  photovoltaic system which is around 1350 KV that we have already installed there, It caters to 40% of our energy needs in Chennai and we will go for 100% green electricity by mid-2022. So in 2022, we will be fully green. The 60% also that we are sourcing from outside is all green, as the source itself is green. 

Q. Finally, your big challenge?

Vikram Pawah – Big challenge is a big opportunity as the market is bouncing back and we are going strong. The future of electricity, as well as petrol and diesel, looks bright in India for now.


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