BMW released Tuesday the details of an electric concept car, with production of the vehicle expected to start in 2021.
In an interview with CNBC Tuesday, CEO Oliver Zipse described the BMW Concept i4 vehicle as bringing “electromobility to the heart of the BMW brand.”
“It’s fast, it has an acceleration of less than four seconds from zero to 100 kilometers an hour, it has a range of 600 kilometers (about 373 miles),” Zipse, who was speaking to CNBC’s Annette Weisbach, said. The price is yet to be announced.
He went on to note that the company sold more than 140,000 electrified vehicles last year, stating he was “quite positive about our profitability in the future, even with electromobility.”
On the subject of the coronavirus, Zipse told CNBC that he did not see any large interruptions to BMW’s supply chain yet, adding that the company was “monitoring the situation very closely.”
Big firms making moves in electromobility
In 2017, the BMW Group said it expected “electrified vehicles to account for between 15-25% of sales.” Last year, it announced it would, together with China’s Great Wall Motor, construct a plant in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, that will produce fully-electric models of its Mini brand.
The firm is one of several major manufacturers developing an electric vehicle offering to challenge electric car makers like Tesla.
In November 2019, the Volkswagen Group officially started series production of its ID.3 electric car, with the German carmaker planning to launch “almost 70 new electric models” on its platform by 2028.
Last month, Jaguar Land Rover unveiled its Project Vector concept vehicle, which it described as being both “autonomy ready” and electric.
Worldwide electric car sales hit 1.98 million in 2018, according to the IEA, with global stock reaching 5.12 million.
China’s electric car market was the biggest on the planet in 2018 — a little over one million electric cars were sold there — the IEA says, with Europe and the U.S. following behind.
The use of electric vehicles, or EVs, is not solely restricted to individual consumers. Initiatives such as EV100, which is led by international non-profit The Climate Group, are seeking to increase their use in the corporate world.
“We’re working to accelerate mass uptake of electric vehicles by businesses who buy cars, trucks and vans by the thousand,” Sandra Roling, the head of EV100, explained in a statement sent to CNBC via email. “The sooner this happens, the sooner EVs will become widely affordable for ordinary people.”
“Our research shows that corporate demand for EVs is increasing, but is still not being met by manufacturers” Roling went on to state. “As the climate emergency escalates, U.S. manufacturers need to shift to a higher gear on producing EVs – or they risk falling behind the global market and losing their largest customers.”