Chief Executive Harald Krueger said BMW had enough staff to continue developing its cutting-edge electric vehicles program known as “Project i”, despite recent defections of key staff to a Chinese electric vehicle startup. “Overall four people have left the company, not all were working on the i project,” Harald Krueger told reports.
Last month, Future Mobility, an electric vehicles startup backed by Tencent Holdings, made three top acquisitions from BMW. Dirk Abendroth, Benoit Jacob and Henrik Wenders will join Future Mobility Corp. as vice presidents of software and connectivity, design, and marketing, respectively, according to the people, who declined to be identified before the information is made public. The executives will join Carsten Breitfeld, the former project manager for BMW’s i8 plug-in sports car hired to be Future Mobility’s chief executive officer.
Jacob was the head of BMW i design and the man behind the i3 and i8, while Wenders was in charge of product management at BMW i.
Future Mobility plans to create a “premium brand with Chinese roots and a global reach.”
Next in line for BMW i is the 2018 i8 Roadster, the brother of the already successful i8, followed two years later by the next generation electric autonomous car which is known as iNext.
“R&D development of iNext will start now. And we have the people on board to do so,” Krueger added.