BMW aims to boost its electric vehicle sales by as much as 50 percent next year to about 150,000 units, Bloomberg reports.
“We’ll definitely boost sales by a mid-double-digit amount,” Klaus Froehlich, who heads development for BMW, was quoted as telling reporters in Munich on Monday.
“This is to stay ahead of the competition that’s starting to do its own rollout.”
As an early mover in the electric-car shift with its i3 model in 2013, BMW is seeking to defend its position against growing competition from firms such as Volkswagen, which has its own battery lineups ready.
In the first ten months of 2017, BMW sold 78,100 electric cars and plug-in hybrids, according to Reuters.
The German automaker is gearing up to mass produce electric cars by 2020 and aims to have 12 different models by 2025.
Next year, BMW is bringing out an electric Mini, followed by a battery-powered X3 SUV in 2020, adding electric powertrains to existing models rather than creating a distinct, separate lineup like Mercedes’ planned 10-vehicle EQ range, Bloomberg said in its report.
In the future, the company will bundle its electric model versions under its ‘i’ brand, and has reserved naming rights for models iX1 through iX9.
“This can’t be just about showcase cars,”’ said Froehlich. “We have to boost profitability and keep prices on an acceptable level by delving very, very deeply into our cost structure.”
Carmakers are trying to lower the cost of electric vehicles by investing in the development of affordable but powerful batteries, and through modular production systems, which, according to Froehlich, could benefit the development of autonomous cars as well.
BMW earlier this year teamed up with US chipmaker Intel and Israel-based camera specialist Mobileye to develop autonomous driving technologies.
Frohlich said another carmaker would join them by the end of the year. The aim is to have partners from Europe, North America and Asia, Reuters quoted him as saying.
Chief Executive Harald Krueger said BMW aims to keep its return on sales around 8 to 10 percent even with the added costs of developing electric cars.
However, the payoff remains uncertain as the demand for the vehicles remains at a fraction of total auto sales.
BMW’s electric vehicles target should be seen in context of its total global auto sales, which stood at about 2.4 million units in 2016.
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