The changes the automotive industry is going through these days will definitely have a big impact on both the manufacturers and the customers. Most see electrification as the next big thing, even though we’re all aware of the shortcomings brought along by electric vehicles. That’s one of the reasons why certain manufacturers aren’t embracing the EV trend wholeheartedly. BMW is one of them.
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The Germans are keeping their options open, using flexible platforms for their cars, which should be able to house all types of motors. According to the Research and Development boss in Munich, Klaus Froehlich, this would allow BMW to adapt on the go, providing all types of cars, depending on the demand.
“A flexible architecture is the best solution for the next five to 10 years, but clearly if the world turns fully electric, we will develop dedicated architectures,” he said in an interview with Automotive News Europe.
Furthermore, it looks like BMW has big plans with its current platforms for the years to come. According to Froehlich, the CLAR platform, on which all rear-wheel drive cars are built today, will get a serious upgrade in 2021.
“In 2021 we will update the CLAR architecture with a new central floor that can house higher density batteries. This will permit our plug-in hybrids to travel 80, 100 to 120 km in full-electric mode as well as allowing us to install a larger fuel tank than we have in our current plug-in hybrids,” he said.
Apparently, when the CLAR architecture was developed and launched back in 2015 with the current 7 Series, the company did ponder offering a pure EV model but that would’ve raised the weight of the car by 800-900 kilos. That was considered unacceptable for a brand that values the agility of a car, even if it is as big as a 7er.
Therefore, the Germans made a bet on energy density instead: “We had expected that over a decade battery density could increase by 2.5 times. By 2020, we will be close to 2.7 times. Using the updated CLAR also will let us offer BEVs [battery-electric vehicles] on the architecture because our forthcoming i4 is basically a battery-powered 3 Series.”
Therefore, expect some big changes to take place in the BMW line-up starting next year, as the CLAR platform dictates how cars handle and their performance from the 2 Series up.