BMW’s strategy for next decade includes self-driving EVs, i8 Spyder

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 22, 2016

BMW has revealed its strategy for the next 10 years during its annual financial press conference. Its new strategy includes the introduction of the BMW i-Next early next decade, an all-new autonomous electric vehicle, BMW chief executive Harald Krueger disclosed.

He described the new BMW iNext as a symbol of BMW’s technology leadership and will demonstrate how the German premium carmaker will bring the future of mobility into series production.

Krueger remarked that the new iNext will cover all attributes considered as relevant in the future -- autonomous driving, intelligent lightweight construction and digital connectivity and trendsetting interior as well as next-generation electro-mobility.

Klaus Froehlich, board member for r&d, remarked that the new iNext will feature lightweight engineering and a "futuristic interior." He compared the iNext of the future to the BMW 7 series of today – both ensuring individual mobility in its finest and most contemporary form. Krueger also disclosed that BMW is planning to offer an open-top version of the i8 plug-in hybrid roadster in 2018 while Mini will launch a hybrid model at an unspecified time.

Krueger also confirmed that the range of the new MY2017 i3 will surge by 50 percent from 81 miles to 120 miles. He likewise confirmed certain yet undisclosed design revisions on the i3 compact EV. BMW’s CEO also disclosed that the German premium carmaker will build the new BMW X7 full-size crossover at its Spartanburg site in South Caroline and will commence its sales in 2018. BMW has already commenced project i 2.0, placing a renewed focus on technology.

The second phase of the i series entails focused work on autonomous and fully networked driving, specifically high-definition digital maps, sensor and cloud technologies as well as artificial intelligence. Froehlich quipped that BMW is bound to lead the field of autonomous driving with project i 2.0, as the German premium carmaker works to translate research projects into new industrial processes.

To mark its vision of future mobility, BMW recently unveiled its BMW Vision Next 100 Concept, with primary focus on the interior with the driver as the center.

BMW foresees the driver's wellbeing as an increasingly important aspect. BMW reinforces its belief through the concept that drivers should feel like they are sitting on a machine designed for them instant instead of just one that drives itself. Because of this impression, BMW Vision Next 100 concept is designed to have an interior that seems very spacious compared with its overall size while retaining the typical exterior lines of a BMW.

While it features a domed interior, the BMW Vision Next 100 has the sporty silhouette of a BMW saloon. Thanks to the design of the interior, two main modes of operation were decided –Boost and Ease. In Boost mode, the driver takes control of the vehicle, while in Ease, the vehicle takes over and the driver just has to relax.

In Boost mode, the driver is supported subtly and intuitively by the vehicle. When the Ease mode is selected, the interior will be laid out to have plenty of space, pleasant lighting and a relaxing atmosphere.

The BMW Vision Next 100 is integrated with sensory and digital intelligence -- dubbed as Companion by BMW Group – that progressively learns about the driver to offer the most appropriate of support needed to transform into the Ultimate Driver.

Interestingly, the BMW Vision Next 100 comes with the Alive Geometry system – a technologically advanced system that works like 3D sculpture shaping both the exterior and the interior of the vehicle. At the conference, BMW also disclosed that it plans to increase the volume of high-margin luxury vehicles such as those on the 7 series and its M high-performance range.

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