The race to be the best electric car company in the world is heating up. Years ago, it seemed as if Tesla was the only real horse in the race, with other auto manufacturers seemingly just dabbling with electric powertrains. However, the major players in the automotive world are getting involved, players like BMW, Porsche, Audi and Mercedes-Benz. Though, it might take some time for any automaker to really start pumping out EVs at a mass-production rate, as BMW recently claimed that it will not be mass-producing electric cars until 2020.
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Developing the manufacturing facilities and platforms to mass produce electric cars is incredibly expensive. BMW is able to make a couple of low-volume EVs, such as the BMW i3 and i8, without too much cost but making them on a large scale is far more expensive. And, at the moment at least, it’s just not profitable enough to develop such manufacturing capabilities. So BMW is going to wait until the profitability is up before it gets started.
“We wanted to wait for the fifth generation to be much more cost competitive,” BMW CEO Harald Kruger recently told analysts. “We do not want to scale up with the fourth generation.” And making its EVs in a more cost competitive manner makes the actual cars themselves much more cost competitive for the customer. Which is important in getting more butts in electrified seats. And if you want to put more butts in seats than your competitors, you need to be cost efficient. “If you want to win the race, you must be the most cost competitive in the segment, otherwise you cannot scale up the volume,” said Kruger.
In 2020, BMW will be able to mass-manufacture EVs in a far more cost-efficient manner. The new platform these EVs will be built on will be able to accommodate either fully ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), full EV or plug-in hybrid powertrains. On this platform, BMW expects to build 25 new electrified models by the year 2025. Twelve of which will be fully electric.