BMW CEO Krüger: “self-driving car available in four years”
By 2021 the iNext BMW will ride autonomously. When the car is riding by itself, the rectangular steering wheel will disappear in the dashboard. The iNext BMW will be the first electric family car that is able to drive for the most part autonomously. BMW CEO Harald Krüger gives an insight into the near future.
The iNext car will be a sexy car in the more popular price range. But it will be very innovative when it comes to electric drive, lightweight construction, connectivity and the first step to autonomous mobility.
“Autonomous BMW-cars will never be dull. The driver can always chose to drive the car by himself. Moreover, BMW will never make robot cars that can only bring you from point A to point B. The way a BMW takes a curve is about specific software. Electric ride can be fun and exciting”, Harald Krüger says.
Tesla will introduce fully autonomic drive by 2020. How important is it for BMW to be the first?
“Safety is primarily. I do not choose for a compromise when it comes to safety. The autonomous car is very demanding in terms of technology and we want to deliver a reliable system. It is pointless to be the first and destroy your image with some serious crashes”, Krüger adds.
How important are electric cars for the future of BMW?
“This is a top priority. This year we will sell 100.000 electric cars and by 2025 the share of electric cars must be 15 to 25 %. By 2020 a car manufacturer needs 5 to 8 % of of its market share to be electric to meet with the European CO2-regulations. In the future this number will increase”.
“Also in China electric cars will take the lead to deal with air pollution. This year we will launch the 5-series plug-in hybrid and the next step will be the Mini E (2019) and an electric driven X3 in 2020. In the mean time the sales of the i3 keep on rising, which is very rare for a car that is already 4 years on the market”.
The i3 exists today with a bigger battery, but the Opel Ampera-e, Renault Zoë and Tesla provide even more range. Were you surprised?
“No, because we remain a leader. We introduced the i3 during the crisis, when only few brands dared to invest in this technology. Today it is more important to be flexible and being able to respond quickly to the demands of the market. How fast and in which volumes to deliver the different power trains (diesel, petrol, plugin-hybrid, electric) to avoid over or under capacity”, Krüger says.
Volvo announced to stop producing diesel engines. When will BMW say goodby to diesel technology?
Krüger: “Without diesel engines it is impossible for us to meet with the European CO2-standards. Even when we could sell 25 % electric cars in 2020, 75% of the cars will still have a combustion engine”.
“We do not see a regression in diesel demand. On some markets the demand for diesel cars even increases. Diesel will be a part of our future, but there will be a time when investing in even better exhaust systems will become too expensive. But that won’t happen during the first 15 years.”