Quite recently, I personally wrote an article about how BMW’s i Division was somewhat shifting its priorities away from electrification and towards automation. We actually got our information from other sources, but those sources, as well as us, bought into a bunch of bologna and BMW’s actual strategy makes more sense now and it took this article from Forbes for me to see the light.
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See, when most of us think of BMW’s i Division, we think of electric cars. And, because we think only of electrification, we are constantly comparing what BMW i is doing to what Telsa is doing and putting it into a conversation it never really sought out to be it. BMW’s i Division is actually intended to represent ‘ideas’ or ‘innovation’. The i Division is about pushing the automobile forward into the future, regardless of what that may be, whether it be electrification, hybridization, automation or a combination of all three.
So when BMW i first debuted, it created the i3 and i8, two cars that were shockingly brilliant when they first debuted. They’ve lost their ‘wow-factor’ a bit since then, but they’re still incredibly important vehicles to BMW and the future of the automobile for reasons larger than themselves. See, the technologies and techniques BMW learned from those two i Division cars are now being implemented into the entire BMW lineup.
Plus, let’s face it, mass-scale electrification just isn’t possible yet, as battery capacities and charge times just aren’t anywhere near what we need them to be. So, instead of just developing a new electric car that only has a slightly better range than the i3, BMW is creating plug-in hybrid variants of every model in its range while the i3’s and i8’s technology is spread across BMW’s lineup allowing the entire stable of BMW vehicles to be more efficient and high-tech than ever before. It’s actually quite smart thinking on behalf of the Bavarians.
So while we may have jumped the gun and said that BMW was shifting its focus because its i3 and i8 were failing as sales successes, it’s actually because BMW is focused on the automotive industry as a whole, not just EVs. BMW is looking at the big picture and it took an outside perspective to get me to see that.