2017 BMW i3 94Ah Munich-6

BMW has presented a roadmap of possible drive technologies that it will deploy in the future, saying that it will be a mix, with no single mobility solution being prevalent.

This was stated by Klaus Fröhlich, member of the board of management at BMW AG. Speaking at the 26th Aachen Colloquium Automobile and Engine Technology, he said that the challenge of keeping both consumers and lawmakers happy by meeting all their requirements will call for a wide variety of different drive systems.

“There will be no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. We see the approach of using myriad of technologies continuing for many years,” Fröhlich said. He said that while internal combustion engines are expected to decline in importance in the medium term, conventional diesel and petrol engines will play a major role for a long time to come.

He added that the ICE still offers potential, if tapped into with additional investment. On this front, a wide spread of evolutionary advances will be needed to meet future requirements with respect to CO2 and other emissions, and the development of 48V energy recuperation systems will play an increasingly important role in this regard.

As for electric mobility, Fröhlich said it will continue to be multifaceted in nature for a long while yet, guided by the particular concept and market at hand. The company reported that it had sold a total of 34,664 BMW i and BMW iPerformance models this year, up to the end of August.

While the automaker had made great strides on the EV front, with a current line-up consisting of an all-electric (the BMW i3) and five plug-in hybrids, it said it will still be a while before adoption rates become sizeable, with a significant fall in costs not expected until after 2020. It added that it will be a few years before the battery electric vehicle (BEV) becomes the all-encompassing solution for customers and model classes across the board.


Meanwhile, it is continuing to look at hydrogen-powered fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as another solution, saying that these offer the ideal combination of zero-emission motoring and everyday practicality when extended ranges and high running resistances are required.

While the requisite hydrogen infrastructure and production set-up is still lacking, Fröhlich said that cross-sector partnerships have been launched to accelerate the process of establishing such an ecosystem. He said that the large-scale manufacture of hydrogen fuel-cell technology will become viable in the course of the next ten years, putting it firmly on the radar for customer usage.

“BMW will enter the fuel cell market early in the next decade, starting with very small production runs. However, until 2025 at least costs will remain too high and the hydrogen infrastructure too sparse to allow broad-based market penetration. By the time the fundamentals are in place, the BMW Group will have marketable products ready that are attractive to customers,” Fröhlich said.