A couple of days ago, BMW Middle East released a video of what it called a “Dune Taxi,” which was an all-electric off-roader that ripped up the sandy dunes of the desert. It looked like an absolute blast to drive and was an admittedly cool video. However, it didn’t actually say what the car was, which lead us to wonder if it was going to be some sort of Dakar rally racer, similar to what Audi’s doing. So we reach out to BMW for a statement and, as it turns out, it’s actually a bit more disappointing than that.
“The Dune Taxi video by BMW Middle East at the Liwa Festival location is for entertainment purposes. It is to demonstrate what could be possible when you challenge perceptions around what sheer driving pleasure with M cars on their road to electrification can mean.” a BMW Middle East representative said in the statement.
So BMW spent a bunch of money developing this car and shooting this video, only to show off what could be done with electrification off-road. That’s wildly disappointing for fans who were hoping for some sort of electric BMW Dakar racer. But even more disappointing than that is the fact that it isn’t even a proper BMW. It’s just a BMW body slapped onto an existing race car.
“We took the opportunity to collaborate with Spark Racing Technology and use their base car for the video filming. BMW Group Designworks created the great design for the chassis. The Dune Taxi symbolizes BMW’s ambition to challenge the status quo.” the statement said.
Admittedly, the car was awesome and it certainly looked cool. But it’s a Spark Racing Technology electric race car with a BMW body, not an actual BMW product. Which is a shame because BMW has the battery and electric powertrain tech to build an EV desert racer. Even if it partnered with Spark Racing to build the chassis and then put in a BMW battery pack and powertrain, it would have at least been powered by BMW. Alas, it’s just a cool race car with a BMW-looking body kit.
However, one thing it does do is spark (no pun intended) the imagination. BMW absolutely should make something like this for off-road rally racing. Audi is currently doing it with Dakar, which is helping Audi learn a ton about the extreme limits of battery and electric powertrain technology. Nothing breeds car technology like motorsport, so BMW should be in as many electric motorsports as possible and an off-road Dakar racer would be one of the coolest motorsports it could enter.