Interview: BMW CEO Harald Krueger on 3 Series Importance, Future EVs

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It will be a fantastic design, very emotional. You have seen the show car. It will have up to 700 kilometers (435 miles) of electric range. It is much faster than some other cars from 0 to 60. It comes with the latest generation of connectivity, materials, and design.

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The BMW iVision Dynamics concept, which is said to inspire the look of the i4.

Will you sell it in different ranges?

Yeah. There will be different options.

What range do your plug-in hybrids need to be competitive?

The new X5 has 70 km (43 miles) of range. It will be offered next year. And we will expand with every plug-in hybrid. The 3 Series plug-in hybrid is expanded from the X5. It will have two and a half or maybe three times the range of the previous generation.

How is your electric vehicle strategy unfolding?

By 2021 we will have five pure electric vehicles. We already have more than 10 plug-in hybrids, and by 2021 we will have more. By 2025 we will have 25 electrified vehicles; 12 of them are pure electric. We need it for the CO2 situation in Europe.

How do you manage the investment needed?

Our industry is about cooperation. BMW is investing as much as possible into development. This year we are spending 7 billion euros ($8 billion). That is double what we invested in the past. On hydrogen, we have a good cooperation with Toyota. On autonomous driving, we have partners like Continental and Delphi.

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What is the criteria for choosing the partner?

Both partners need to bring their competences, technologies. Also the culture and spirit between management and the team must be right. The Z4 (and Toyota Supra) are out of a BMW-Toyota cooperation. These two cars are absolutely different but great, and we did it as a successful cooperation. BMW by itself maybe was not in a position to fund it. Now we have a strategic cooperation, and the Z4 is the outcome.

Impact of new NAFTA agreement?

I am pleased there is an agreement and NAFTA still exists. We need to look into the details because there are more demanding requirements of what needs to be sourced in NAFTA. Overall, America is still a very important market, and we will export cars from the United States to the world as well as Canada and Mexico. The X3 from Spartanburg will go to Canada and Mexico. We might export 3 Series from Mexico to the U.S.

How will Brexit affect BMW?

We moved forward our production shutdown in Oxford from August to April to be prepared for any stoppages. Secondly, if some cars do not qualify for a lot of free trade agreements from the U.K., we will move production. The home of Mini is Oxford, and that will not change. Mini’s biggest market is the U.K. so it’s an advantage to produce in that market.

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