Unlike some luxury marques, BMW Group has been more guarded in its embrace of electric vehicles — watching how customer adoption of EVs and charging infrastructure develop in markets such as the U.S.
Whereas Mercedes-Benz and Volvo Cars have proclaimed their intent to be all-electric brands globally by 2030, BMW said it expects about half of sales to be fully electric by the start of the next decade.
"If you want to be resilient, you have to be flexible," BMW CEO Oliver Zipse said in April. "We think the [EV] infrastructure will not move as fast as market demand."
But while it continues to pump out gasoline engine and hybrid models in the near term, BMW knows the future is electric.
The German luxury brand is bringing out a fleet of EVs, aiming to sell 200,000 globally this year — double the number it delivered last year.
This year, BMW launched a pair of next-generation electric models in two market sweet spots. The 300-mile BMW i4 fastback aims at Tesla's bread-and-butter Model 3. And the X5-size BMW iX targets the much larger-selling midsize crossover segment.
Three more BMW Group EVs are planned for the U.S. over the next two years, including a battery-powered version of the brand's 7 Series top-of-the-line sedan, a 5 Series midsize sedan and the Mini Countryman compact crossover.
BMW is also developing a new all-EV architecture called Neue Klasse (New Class) for the midsize premium segment.
The platform, which will go into production in 2025, will deliver "more output, new cell chemistry and new cell formats," Zipse said. "It represents a quantum leap in technology."
As EV sales ramp up in the U.S., BMW could begin building battery-powered models in North America soon.
In May, Automotive News reported that BMW's $1 billion Mexico assembly plant could become the automaker's first dedicated electric vehicle production center. A source familiar with BMW's product plans said the automaker could begin manufacturing the next-generation 3 Series electric sedan and iX3 electric crossover starting in 2027 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
BMW is also considering establishing a battery factory in North America and buying battery materials in the region. The company said it is in talks with several partners about that plan.