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      12-04-2019, 12:43 PM   #1
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BMW Will Build Internal Combustion Engines for at Least 30 More Years Says R&D Chief

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BMW r&d chief sees rising demand for diverse, multifunctional powertrains

January 05, 2020

"The best assumption is that electrified vehicles will account for 20 percent to 30 percent of worldwide sales by 2030, but with a very diverse global distribution," says BMW's Froehlich."

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Electrification will come but the speed of adoption will vary greatly. That is why BMW r&d boss Klaus Froehlich believes that future vehicle architectures will need to be flexible enough to rapidly adapt to tougher global emissions rules as well as changing customer tastes. He shared his thoughts on this and more with Automotive News Europe Associate Publisher and Editor Luca Ciferri during multiple conversations this year.

Except for the full-electric i3, BMW only uses flexible architectures that can accommodate internal combustion, plug-in hybrid and battery-electric powertrains. Was this the right call?
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.

How flexible are your architectures?
Ten years ago when we developed the CLAR architecture that debuted in 2015 with the 7 series, we would have needed to add 800 kg to 900 kg of batteries to offer a BEV variant. This would have killed the architecture, not to mention the sheer driving pleasure we aim to offer with every car we make. 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. Therefore, 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. 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.

What is the biggest hurdle to the mass rollout of full-electric vehicles?
BEV cost more because of the raw materials to make the batteries. This won’t change. Prices could eventually increase as demand for these raw materials rises.

What is a BEV’s most critical technical challenge?
Charging. Each cell needs an individual charging cycle to minimize the risk of overheating. This reduces the life and the range of the battery. Too much fast charging could wear out the battery in just two to three years, which would make a customer very unhappy given the high cost to replace a battery pack.

How often should a battery-driven car be fast charged?
Not too often. Ideally it should be every 20 charging cycles.

Why, then, is BMW one of the founding investors in European fast-charging infrastructure builder Ionity?
We had to because in 2017 no one was willing to invest [in a charging infrastructure]. Now the situation is completely changed. Energy providers and oil companies are investing, so the charging infrastructure is coming. That’s good news because this is not our core competence.

What has BMW learned from the customers who are already driving its electrified models?
What we have learned, which is significant because by the end of 2019 we will have 500,000 electrified models on the road, is that customers recharge either at home or the office. Charging elsewhere seldom happens.

What is the global sales outlook for electrified models?
The best assumption is that electrified vehicles will account for 20 percent to 30 percent of worldwide sales by 2030, but with a very diverse global distribution. China’s big east coast cities will become purely electric pretty soon while western China will rely on gasoline engines for the next 15 to 20 years due to a lack of infrastructure.

And for Europe?
In Europe there is reluctance to jump directly to BEVs, so plug-in hybrids are the right solution. They will be used as BEVs during the week and run on gasoline on weekends or long trips. We expect plug-in hybrids to account for up to 25 percent of [European sales], gasoline and diesel will have more than 50 percent and the rest will be BEVs.

How about the U.S.?
Most of the U.S. does not need BEVs. We could offer high-performance plug-in hybrids in the M space, providing a lot of fun to the driver as well as [environmental] credits for us. We see BEVs mainly in the west coast and parts of the east coast, while the rest of the U.S. will continue with conventional gasoline engines.

And the rest of the world?
Russia, the Middle East and Africa are areas where there is no recharging infrastructure at moment.

Will BMW streamline its internal combustion engine offerings?
Regulations on internal combustion engines are accelerating and getting more diverse all over the world. We have to update our engines every year, especially for China. Because this costs a lot of money, we have to streamline our offerings. On the diesel side, production of the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder entry engine will end and the 400-hp, six-cylinder won’t be replaced because it is too expensive and too complicated to build with its four turbos. However, our four- and six-cylinder diesels will remain for at least another 20 years and our gasoline units for at least 30 years.

What about big gasoline engines such as the V-8 and V-12?
The V-12 may not have a future given that we only produce a few thousand units each year and the several thousand euros of added cost it takes to make them compliant with stricter emissions rules. When it comes to the V-8, it’s already difficult to create a strong business case to keep it alive given that we have a six-cylinder high-powered plug-in hybrid unit that delivers 441 kilowatts (600 hp) of power and enough torque to destroy many transmissions.

What is the future for fuel cells?
A fuel cell is a BEV without a battery but a fast charger that is called a fuel cell and a 700-bar hydrogen tank somewhere in the car. We develop fuel cells with Toyota and will begin pilot production of the second generation of these models at the beginning of the next decade on the X6 and X7.

Is the cost still prohibitive?
Right now a fuel cell powertrain costs about 10 times more than a BEV’s system. We plan to have those costs equalized by 2025 with the third generation of our scalable fuel cell system, which could result in volumes in the hundreds of thousands.

Are higher volume fuel cell passenger cars about six years away?
I think that the future developments of battery cells could make them the most suitable solution for passenger cars by 2025. We foresee fuel cells as a viable solution for light- and heavy-duty trucks, which are facing very tough CO2 reduction targets and already use very efficient diesels, so the next step could only be electrification. But you cannot electrify a heavy truck with batteries, because reducing the payload from 6 tons to 7 tons is absolute nonsense. With a single recharging station, you can refuel a fleet of 100 hydrogen-powered light trucks overnight. About 200 highway refueling stations could serve thousands of heavy trucks across Europe, which means that on the infrastructure side, this is feasible.
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      01-07-2020, 12:42 PM   #2
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If anyone was concerned about the I6 going away anytime soon, think again.
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      01-07-2020, 12:42 PM   #3
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I wonder how Alpina will feel losing the V-8s for the larger cars they do up.
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      01-07-2020, 12:55 PM   #4
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I bought my M2C just in case....
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      01-07-2020, 01:31 PM   #5
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...until they change their mind
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      01-07-2020, 01:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stage IV View Post
...until they change their mind
Pretty much this. Watch next year they release a statement "Due to new EU Regulations and our focused commitment to electrification........"

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      01-07-2020, 01:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stage IV View Post
...until they change their mind



Or they fire whoever said that ish.. The turnaround is pretty steady throughout the years at BMW and they don't really keep their word long term.

Remember when they said M cars will always be high-revving and naturally aspirated. That didn't age well.

Electric or hybrid-electric vehicles is the foreseeable future at BMW and this next generation is the last of the manual offerings. They're already phased it out the all next-gen Non-M cars. When I was ordering a car in 2008, the manual was the standard drivetrain and the auto was the option you had to custom build, now it's in reverse. I see the writing on the wall.
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      01-07-2020, 03:17 PM   #8
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I wonder if this will be spun in a positive or negative light. The media is so pro and gung-ho EVs, but the reality in the US (aside from CA and few other EV hot spots) is they are not popular and comprise only a tiny share of the market. I went to a Volvo dealer to talk to them about the PHEV XC90, and they told me they have never sold one, LMAO. Its been out for years, and they don't like to keep PHEV's on the lot because they sit there forever. Once in a great while someone will order a PHEV S60 or XC40. So I can see why, outside of Priuses and Teslas, the other automakers are kinda "why bother" with PHEVs or EVs.

While BMW is a little behind the game, they could be worse off. I am shocked, though, that the CLAR platform was not optimized for PHEV. BMW does have one of the top EV's in world wide sales (i3) - it's a shame they kinda stalled after that. I am also disappointed that you can't get the X5 PHEV with a third row, more disappointed the diesels were dropped from the US, and most disappointed they have not confirmed a X7 PHEV is coming.

We are on our second i3 REx. It's a great little EV - kind of expensive, but BMW put a lot of development into it. I have already accepted the fact that I will not be able to get a new BMW with a manual transmission or a NA engine. Still holding out that diesels come back to the US though, LOL.
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      01-07-2020, 04:58 PM   #9
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Phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles: see here.
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      01-07-2020, 05:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artemis View Post
Phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles: see here.
Except for the state of California, which is almost it's own sovereign country by itself, when it comes to emissions standards, the US didn't grace the list of pledges.. 🤨
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      01-08-2020, 08:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artemis View Post
Phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles: see here.
Great resource! Thanks Artemis.
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      01-08-2020, 08:23 AM   #12
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One guy who works there said it so it must be true. Plus anything can change in 30 years. His comment is pointless.
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      01-08-2020, 09:43 AM   #13
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Then Mercedes will wipe the floor with BMW.

He must be in denial.

What an idiot.
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      01-08-2020, 09:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artemis View Post
Phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles: see here.
a politician's promise is horseshit. Nice to see costa rica has signed up lol.
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      01-08-2020, 09:57 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Love_Hounds View Post
I wonder how Alpina will feel losing the V-8s for the larger cars they do up.
Alpina should grow some and go ahead and build a new Roadster S, with an s58, like in the new B3. The G29 platform is definately up to it.
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      01-08-2020, 10:01 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ///M TOWN View Post
Then Mercedes will wipe the floor with BMW.
They may indeed, but I don't know that it will be because of Froehlich's estimation for ICE phase-out. Will Mercedes stop producing combustion engines much sooner than this? Possibly. But I'll bet they won't go on record promising such a thing at this time. PHEVs are likely to have quite a run.

Is this completely unreasonable?

~2030: All passenger cars and light trucks are PHEV or EV (Still need combustion engines)
~2040: All passenger cars and light trucks are EV (Still need combustion engines)
~2050: All heavy trucks and specialty vehicles are EV (including FCEV) (Combustion engines gone)

If it is, then what, exactly, is a reasonable timeline?

Quote:
He must be in denial.

What an idiot.
It's possible. If so, he'll simply move the timeline or get bounced.
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      01-08-2020, 10:08 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artemis View Post
Phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles: see here.
I think the key here is the specific language... it seems most of the "bans" are really just resolutions declaring intent to start acting on banning ICE in the years each jurisdiction listed. Although it makes a splashy headline, few appear to be hard laws passed saying ICE cannot be sold as of X date.

What I believe will likely happen is increases taxes or financial penalties along with stricter emissions stds over time (along with continued BEV technology improvement) make it more and more attractive to purchase BEV, which leads to additional build out of infrastructure, which leads to making it more attractive to buy BEV, which leads to more infrastructure... etc etc onward until ICEs are relegated to the past.

BEVs with 800 mile range, 5 min charging times, and infrastructure to support the electricity needs will eventually be the norm... someday
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      01-08-2020, 10:14 AM   #18
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What a stupid comment. I plan on being alive 30 more years, but realize shit can change.
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      01-08-2020, 10:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xlover View Post
I think the key here is the specific language... it seems most of the "bans" are really just resolutions declaring intent to start acting on banning ICE in the years each jurisdiction listed. Although it makes a splashy headline, few appear to be hard laws passed saying ICE cannot be sold as of X date.
That's it - yes. None of this is binding and none of it is fixed. One can look at it as a long term negotiation process. It will be hashed out over the next few decades as world leaders and leaders in the private sector argue with each other and amongst themselves.

With so much uncertainty involved, its certainly going to be a tough road for the industry. There will be casualties, no doubt. I'm not ready to write BMW off as one of them yet. However, they would appear to be in a bit more precarious a place than others. That's a big part of what makes it so fun to watch.
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      01-08-2020, 10:53 AM   #20
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We are starting to see electric busses now. I do like not having to smell diesel or CNG exhaust as a bus pulls away from a stop and the electric motor sound is futuristic.
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      01-08-2020, 11:16 AM   #21
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That interview reads like a long list of excuses on why BMW cant offer a competitive BEV today. And fuel cell hydrogen? Please. Never going to work due to fuel cell size and lack of infrastructure.

I think BMW is underestimating the shift to electrification, and this interview reinforces their wait and see strategy.
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      01-08-2020, 11:33 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
It's possible. If so, he'll simply move the timeline or get bounced.
He will retire from BMW in less than one year.

Good riddance to Klaus Froehlich.

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