BMW to power up electric vehicle production

Updated 2017-09-11 10:30:40 China Daily
A BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition catches visitors' eyes at this year's Shanghai auto show. (Liu Jiahao/for China Daily)

A BMW i8 Protonic Frozen Yellow Edition catches visitors' eyes at this year's Shanghai auto show. (Liu Jiahao/for China Daily)

German premium carmaker BMW has vowed to significantly ramp up its production of electric cars and to roll out an array of battery-powered models over the next couple of years, including for its premium brand Rolls-Royce, to win the industry-wide race for cleaner, greener mobility.

Chairman and CEO Harald Krueger said on Thursday in Munich that the company would deliver 100,000 electric cars this year globally, with accumulated BMW Group sales of such cars exceeding 200,000 by year-end.

The group plans to offer 25 electric models by 2025, including 12 fully electric-powered ones, Krueger said.

"We will be increasing the share of electrified models across all brands and model series. And yes, that also includes the Rolls-Royce brand and BMW M vehicles," he said.

At the 2017 Frankfurt motor show, set to open to the media tomorrow, BMW will demonstrate a new four-door, fully electric model positioned between the i3 city car and the i8 hybrid sports car, as well as a concept electric Mini-brand car that is to be released next year.

The "i" is a BMW sub-brand that officially hit the market in 2013 for electric cars.

Analysts say BMW's aggressive electrification plan should bet more on China - the world's biggest electric car market - as the government is pushing carmakers to provide more electric products to cut emissions.

The company produces its 5 Series plug-in hybrid sedan and the Zinoro electric cars in China in partnership with a local carmaker.

It also markets several imported electric models there. BMW does not disclose its sales figures of electric cars in China, which are believed to be tiny if compared with its overall sales in the country.

Homegrown brands dominate China's electric car market, such as BYD, Zotye and BAIC.

Last year, sales of electric passenger vehicles in China surged by more than 60 percent to 336,000, almost half of the world's total. According to a government blueprint, overall sales of electric automobiles, including passenger and commercial vehicles, are expected to hit 2 million a year by 2020.

By 2025, electric vehicles will account for a fifth of the entire market. Foreign carmakers are pouring more money into electric vehicles in China to meet stricter emissions and fuel-economy rules. The government will launch a cap-and-trade scheme next year, penalizing automakers that fail to produce enough electric cars as a proportion of their overall output.

The companies that fail to keep up can choose to face a fine or purchase credits from peers with an excess.

Last month, Ford Motor and Nissan Motor respectively formed joint ventures with Chinese partners to boost their electric car lineups.

Daimler announced in June that it would manufacture electric cars under its sub-brand EQ, via a joint venture with BAIC.

BMW also builds a range of combustion-engine models in China, its biggest single market in the world.

In the first seven months of this year, the group delivered 337,000 vehicles in the country, a gain of 17 percent from a year earlier.

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