BMW will be claiming a significant chunk of the electric vehicles market in three years, tussling with Tesla for dominance in the process. That, at least, should be the plan as the company confirmed it is working on electric vehicle variants to the X3 SUV and the urban Mini vehicle.
The all-electric BMW X3 compact SUV and an EV Mini were only reported by several news outlets last week and promptly confirmed by BMW. These two variants did not debut in the recently concluded Paris Motor Show.
According to Reuters, which reported BMW's confirmation, the X3 Mini is set to debut first while the compact SUV has still no definite rollout schedule.
In a separate interview with Bloomberg, Harald Krueger, BMW's CEO, said that the X3 compact will aggressively propel the company into the EV market as the vehicle pushes into the heart of BMW's portfolio. The X3 SUV is one of the most popular BMW vehicles and the battery-powered version is expected to contribute in getting electric vehicles into the mainstream faster.
With the X3 compact SUV and EV Mini, BMW effectively expands its stable of electric vehicles. The company already has the fully electric i3 city car, which was released in 2013. A plug-in hybrid electric sports car called i8 was introduced a year later.
Some industry observers are unsure about BMW's latest all-electric-vehicle strategy. This is attributed to the fact that i3 did not exactly make waves in the market and the company is reportedly concerned about the cost of making new EV variants. For instance, the Mini's platform needs to be completely redesigned and the facilities devoted to its manufacture would also have to adapt.
BMW's decision to go forward with the X3 compact and Mini all-electric vehicles was said to have been made during a strategy meeting that coincided with the Paris Motor Show. The German automaker must have been rattled to find several of its competitors unveiling plug-in variants set to hit the market soon. The key factors that emerged out of this decision include the plan to introduce competitive pricing as well as more diversified EV ranges.
It is also worth noting that BMW has already partnered with Volkswagen to build a network of more than 100 charging stations in key road networks in the United States to encourage EV's mass adoption. It is part of a program called the Express Charging Corridors Initiative. A California-based startup company called ChargePoint has been tapped to construct the charging facilities.