BMW goes northeast, bets on electric cars 12 years later

BMW BMWi3

shangjie· 2019-12-03 04:22:09

The domestic high-end electric vehicle market welcomes another new player.

It lasted 507 days. On November 29, the joint venture project of BMW Group and Great Wall Motors Beam Automobile was officially launched in Zhangjiagang. This is also BMW's second joint venture in China after BMW Brilliance. BMW is no longer only made in Shenyang, but now also made in Jiangsu.

According to the introduction, the registered capital of the beam auto project is 1.7 billion yuan, with a total investment of approximately 5.1 billion yuan. After the project is formed, it will have the ability to produce and produce 160,000 fuel vehicles and pure electric vehicles. However, the project will mainly focus on the production of pure electric vehicles.

Fu Lexi, director of research and development of BMW Group, said that the beam project will prompt BMW to further implement its "in China, for China, for the world" strategy.

By 2020, BMW will start producing the brand new all-electric BMW iX3 in China and export it all over the world.

This luxury car company that once dominated, but was late in the outlet of new energy vehicles, finally began to strive to catch up, and determined to surpass those leading competitors.

From preemptive opportunities to missed opportunities

BMW's layout in electrification goes back 12 years.

In 2006, the BMW Group ushered in a new chairman, Nobert Reithofer. His appointment directly opened the curtain for BMW electrification.

The following year, BMW proposed the "Strategy Number One". The "Project i" plan came into being and began to make technical reserves for the later BMW i brand.

At this time, there are very few players on the electric car track. Tesla has just been established for 3 years, and the first model Roadster has not yet appeared.

After the establishment of Project i, Ulrich Kranz, former senior vice president of BMW and i-series electric vehicle project leader, led the team to draw a separate team, officially starting the road to the development of pure electric vehicles.

After 6 years, the BMW i3, the first production car of the BMW i-series, finally hit the market in July 2013.

At the event in Beijing, BMW even invited Liu Chuanzhi, the first Chinese owner of the BMW i3 and founder of Lenovo Group, to serve as a platform, which is very important.

U.S. Wired magazine hailed it as "Munich's most innovative product in 10 years."

The highlights and grooves of this car can be said to be evenly matched. The highlight is that the BMW i3 has a new interpretation in terms of design and lightweight.

For example, compared to the fuel car, the front face of the i3 adopts a closed design, becoming the earliest comment on electric vehicles. Based on these designs, the BMW i3 has won the iF design gold award and the world model design year. Grand prize.

In terms of vehicle weight reduction, the body structure of the BMW i3 uses the "LifeDrive" module architecture, which is mainly made of carbon fiber reinforced composite materials. This makes the BMW i3 body weight 250-350 kg lighter than at the beginning of the design.

In contrast, the BMW i3 has been criticized for its range.

The BMW i3 was initially equipped with a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 21.6kWh and a range of only 150km. What concept? For example, during the same period, Tesla released a Model S Performance Edition with a battery capacity of 85kWh and a range of 390 km, which is almost twice the BMW i3.

Next, in 2016, BMW launched a model with a battery capacity of 35kWh and a range of 200-250 km. This year, the BMW i3 is upgraded again with a range of 340km.

At present, Tesla's mileage-enhanced upgraded Model S has a range of up to 660 km; Mercedes-Benz EQC has a range of 415 km; Audi e-tron has a range of 470 km; The Weilai ES8, which was unable to run for a long time, has a current range of 425 km.

It can be seen that compared with the mainstream pure electric vehicles on the market, the gap between the BMW i3 is really not small.

Of course, if we only talk about the layout of electric vehicles, if the launch of the first production car is the time node, the BMW i3 is at least six years ahead of the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Audi e-tron.

Unfortunately, although the BMW i project was launched early, the results of the first battle were not satisfactory.

In 2015, Kluge took over as the new CEO of the BMW Group. Since then, BMW's pure electric strategy development has been pressed by a slow deceleration button. Many people in the BMW Group, including Kluge, are prejudiced against pure electric, so more energy is focused on plug-in hybrid models.

After less than a year at Kruger, four core executives of the BMW i brand department also left one after another to join new car companies, such as former BMW senior vice president Ulrich Kranz once Join Jia Yueting's Faraday Future. In addition, Bi Fukang, who co-founded Byton Motors.

Bi Fukang, known as the "Father of BMW i8", said in an interview with the media that their departure was because they wanted to participate in more advanced electric vehicle projects. After the launch of i3 and i8, BMW The direction of electrification has changed, and it has not actively carried out full electrification as originally planned.

In the six years since the launch of the BMW i3, the entire group has only launched 10 new energy models, of which 7 are plug-in hybrid models. Pure electric only has upgraded i3, sports i3s and The new Mini Cooper pure electric version launched in the first half of this year.

In recent years, Volvo, which is also in the luxury car camp, has launched the pure electric brand Polestar. Daimler also has joint ventures with BYD, Geely and Smart.

By comparison, BMW has clearly been "slow-shot" in the field of electric vehicles.

BMW is "departing again" This time, the starting point is "Great Wall"

Facing the trend of market electrification, BMW is trying to correct mistakes, hope Keep up with your opponents through a motorized "Great Leap Forward".

The core battlefield of this movement, BMW puts it in China.

In September 2018, the BMW Group proposed a "2 + 4" China strategy for the future development of transportation. Among them, "2" refers to two joint ventures in China: BMW Brilliance and Great Wall MINI, and "4" refers to "ACES Strategy", which is the four frontiers of "automation, interconnection, electrification, and sharing" direction.

Before the project was announced last week, the joint venture between BMW and Great Wall, Beam Automobile, will produce electric versions of the MINI under the BMW brand and compact new energy vehicles under the Great Wall.

Zhao Guoqing, senior vice president of Great Wall Motors and chairman of Beam Automobile, said that the cooperation will open a new joint venture model of joint research and development, manufacturing in China, and serving global customers.

Nicolas Peter, director of the BMW Group in charge of China, said that MINI must be electrified and localized to succeed in China. Great Wall Motor understands the production value chain and has a certain production capacity. This is an important reason why BMW chose Great Wall Motors.

With the two joint ventures "BMW Brilliance" and "Great Wall MINI", BMW, which has been in the electric field for a long time, will start a fierce "offensive".

In June of this year, BMW officials announced plans to speed up the expansion of electric products. The plan for 25 new energy vehicles in 2025 was planned to be advanced to 2023. Kruger said: "It is expected that BMW electric vehicle sales will maintain a high growth rate from now to 2025, with an average annual increase of about 30%."

According to the plan, BMW will Global production of pure electric BMW iX3; in 2021, BMW iNEXT and BMW i4 will be put into production at the Dingolfing plant in Germany and the Munich plant, respectively.

In addition to the pure "selling of cars", BMW has also established a new energy vehicle ecosystem in China from battery production to charging infrastructure.

BMW has previously purchased batteries from Samsung SDI. In response to increasing demand, BMW announced in July last year that it would purchase approximately 31.1 billion power batteries from the Ningde era.

A year later, BMW has added extra weight. On November 21, BMW announced that it had signed two power battery purchase contracts with Ningde Times and Samsung SDI worth more than 78 billion yuan, of which battery orders with Ningde Times increased from 31.1 billion yuan to 56.9 billion yuan.

In China, in October last year, BMW Brilliance Shenyang Power Battery Center started construction, with a total investment of 324 million yuan and an annual output of 33,000 high-voltage battery packs.

In terms of charging services, BMW plans to achieve 100,000 charging posts in China by the end of 2019, including 2.5 DC charging posts, covering more than 100 cities, and reaching strategic cooperation with 4 charging operators. .

Bet on future trips to expand autonomous driving "friend circle"

In the field of automotive intelligent networking, BMW has also continued to settle down and improve its layout.

Forbes reports that BMW has invested up to 7 billion euros last year. This year, BMW contracted three domestic technology companies, Tencent, Siwei Tuxin and China Unicom in succession in just one month. These companies are almost all giants in their respective fields.

For example, the cooperation with Tencent is to help the BMW Group build a "high-performance data-driven development platform" in China. In the words of Tang Daosheng, president of Tencent's cloud and smart industry, "it is to be an assistant for the digital transformation of automotive companies."

Cooperation with NavInfo can provide BMW with high-precision map services for autonomous driving. At present, NavInfo can be said to be one of the leading domestic high-precision map and other intelligent solution providers.

In addition to high-precision maps, as a key part of autonomous driving and connected cars, BMW has also entered into a 5G mobile communication business cooperation with China Unicom.

"BMW pays special attention to cooperating with local high-tech companies to jointly promote the development of ACES innovation, especially in areas such as electrification, interconnection and autonomous driving, so as to ensure future core competition. Power, "explains Gao Le, president and CEO of BMW Group Greater China.

At present, the BMW Group ’s self-driving R & D teams in Beijing and Shanghai have nearly 100 R & D personnel, focusing on the development and verification of autonomous driving functions based on typical traffic scenarios in China.

In retrospect, almost all the mainstream car companies in the industry have placed the Chinese market in a strategic position. Any car company that wants to lead the world is likely to perform well in the Chinese market. . Although affected by the cold winter of the auto market since last year, overall car sales have continued to decline, it is undeniable that in the new energy vehicle market, China is still a huge incremental market.

However, in the face of cross-border technology companies such as Google, Apple, Huawei, etc .; the "new forces of car building" that carry the banner of autonomous driving represent Tesla; and traditional cars such as Volkswagen and GM Giant, BMW wants to stand out, and there is still a long way to go.

Write it at the end

At the Frankfurt Motor Show 2019, BMW announced a clear electrification transformation strategy, with the goal of accumulating delivery to global customers by 2021. 1 million electric cars.

Not long ago, Cooper SE, the first electric model of the MINI brand, was launched, which officially launched BMW's fierce offensive against pure electric vehicles. Although BMW currently lags behind in electrification, BMW CEO Zipzer pointed out, "We are entering a new era, and electric cars will be the best choice for our customers."

Whether it is now Still in the future, the Chinese market is undoubtedly the key to the implementation of BMW's strategic goals.

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