BMW is looking for partners, as Reuters reports, to build smaller electric cars. The challenge was not only financial, but also had to do with the engineering problem of fitting sufficiently long-range batteries into a smaller package. BMW has disclosed plans to launch a new, electric Mini model in 2019. As some of Mini’s popularity has been taken away by the growing preference for small crossovers and SUVs, Mini could be on its way to being an entirely electric brand, aimed at urban consumers, according to management board member Peter Schwarzenbauer.
On a related note, Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Co had pointed to a possible venture to build Mini vehicles in China, for the first time outside Europe, but BMW is yet to comment on it. The German has worked with rivals before to split ‘clean vehicle technology’ costs and has a partnership with Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp to develop fuel cell vehicles.
Other ambitious plans of BMW include a self-driving car set for debut in 2021 at a price that could be below $100,000. The iNEXT may not offer complete, Level 5 autonomy immediately and wait for the regulatory and legal frameworks to be in place.