In an announcement first reported by greencarreports.com, BMW stated last week that it plans on doubling it’s battery production in the U.S. The move comes as the German automaker prepares to produce two new plug-in hybrids at its Spartansburg, South Carolina location. As we noted previously, BMW plans to introduce around 25 new plug-in vehicles, including 13 all-electric (EV) cars by the year 2025.
BMW has not been without its share of turmoil this year. Prior the resignation former Chief Executive Harald Krüger, the company had been widely criticized by prominent environmental groups for its lack of EV offerings. The controversy surrounding BMW came to an apex in June when BMW’s Director of Development, Klaus Frölich told a panel of interviewers that the company hasn’t seen a demand for EVs. “There are no customer requests for EVs. None.” Frölich emphatically stated. “There are regulator requests for EVs, but no customer requests.” Frölich further added: “If we have a big offer, a big incentive, we could flood Europe and sell a million EV cars but Europeans won’t buy these things. From what we see, EVs are for China and California and everywhere else is better off with Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) with good EV range.” His remarks were widely condemned by various media outlets.
Oliver Zipse, current Chairman of the Board of Management will be replacing Krüger on August 16th of this year. As we reported here, Zipse has been a proponent of the company’s strategy of building EV versions of BMWs traditional vehicles. This is in contrast to other automakers who prefer to release new lines of EVs without a gas-powered counterpart.
BMW will begin produce the 2020 X5 xDrive 45e PHEV in Spartansburg on August 1st of this year and the new X3 xDrive 30e PHEV sometime in December. BMW has invested $10 million in their new battery production project and says that it has trained 225 workers in new production methods. The 2020 BMW X5 xDrive 45e is rumored to have roughly 50 miles of range running on all-electric power and the new 2020 X3 xDrive 30e is expected to go up to 30 miles on electricity only.
According to Knudt Flor, President and CEO of BMW Manufacturing, “The BMW X5 and X3 are currently among the best-selling BMW models in the U.S. and we anticipate that their PHEV variants will also be well-received by BMW customers.” Flor has been quoted previously as saying, “The good part about this is we will continue to grow,” he said. “We are very flexible based on customer demand. We can produce more. We can produce less. This is one of the main unique points of BMW — that we are producing cars according to the customer demand. We will further expand. Will we expand? Yes, definitely. We need more capacity in the plant. We will have more jobs in the plant. It all depends on the demand of the customer.”
What do our readers think about BMW’s strategy? Will their strategy of pushing PHEVs as opposed to EVs pay off? Please leave us a comment below and let us know.
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