BMW Revamps R&D for Self-Driving Cars; Tesla Motors Inc May Have Reason to Worry
BMW is increasing focus on its electric cars and autonomous technology, to catch up with competitors
BMW just took its autonomous car efforts up a notch. Board member Klaus Froehlich told Reuters the company has stepped up its research and development (R&D) on self-driving cars, which will include a revamp of its electric car auto brand “i” that includes i3 and i8 sedans.
The German auto giant aims to become a prominent player in the auto tech market. After recently completing its 100 years into existence, it launched its autonomous car concept — a vehicle that can rightly be labeled as a future car. The company wants to double down on R&D for carbon fiber-based electric cars, which are supported by driverless technology.
Last month, BMW announced the launch of its next electric car in 2021, which will support fully autonomous driving features. The “i Next” car will be a 7-Series sedan model. The company believes it is a “new innovation driver, with autonomous driving, digital connectivity, intelligent lightweight design, a totally new interior and ultimately bringing the next generation of electro-mobility to the road,” as stated by BMW chief executive, Harald Krueger. The company plans to launch i8 Roadster prior to that in 2018.
Tesla Motors, on the other hand, has its timeline scheduled much before that. The EV maker has plans to launch its mass-market Model 3 EV by 2017. It has already grabbed over 370,000 pre-orders. Though it has not come up with a fully autonomous car yet, it will upgrade its entire fleet of vehicles with autopilot software that takes over the wheel on motorways and highways. Compared to Tesla, BMW seems far behind in its autonomous car ambitions. Tesla sold over 50,000 cars last year, while BMW has just sold 25,000 of its electric i3 vehicles so far. More information about the auto sales can be found on Bidness Etc Auto Portal.