We’ll have to wait and see whether BMW’s line in the sand over EV range is a smart move or arrogance. BMW i4 project leader David Ferrufino says that BMW is no longer developing longer-range EVs. So 600 kilometers, or 375 miles range is all we get-take it or leave it.
“One thousand kilometers of range is not a target we have with BMW EVs”
He recently told Australia’s WhichCar?, “One thousand kilometers of range is not a target we have with our fully electric cars. We are aiming for 600 kilometers of driving range for our fully-electric cars, and 100 kilometers with our plug-in hybrids in everyday driving.”
This reminds us of BMW’s abject refusal to consider whether its beaver fang grilles might have been a mistake. Whatever course it charts is sacred; not to be deviated from or questioned. So that’s it; 375-mile range, no more and no less. End of discussion.
For Australians, this means you’re limited to Sydney to Canberra or Melbourne to Hobart. Without better charging infrastructure there it would be best not to go beyond those distances without a charge.
“We think that around 600 kilometers is a very customer-friendly solution”
Ferrufino says that with more charging stations, increases in battery technologies, and faster charging times, why increase range? “For example, we don’t think a range of 600 kilometers will be suitable for a BMW i3 as an urban car,” he expounds. “But when it comes to the BMW iX or i4, we think that around 600 kilometers is a very customer-friendly solution.”
Oh, to be so sure about the future. Wouldn’t it be great if we could really determine what the future might hold in five or ten years? We think as EV features blend together from car to car and manufacturer to manufacturer, carmakers will need more of something to distinguish their products. The range is only one of many ways to separate EVs.
But there is something that Ferrufino didn’t mention that is taking place, not by carmakers, but by cities and states. There is a rush to lay down charging strips embedded in roadways. It is seen, and rightly so, as a sure-fire way to increase EV usage.
With highway charging strips range anxiety goes away
To be able to drive an EV without any range limits would be a game-changer. With that being in place, the range becomes irrelevant, unless you live out in the country. In that case, one of your prime requirements would be range. And then a BMW might not be a good choice.
So, while Ferrufin’s remarks are just so much hubris, taking road charging into consideration changes the focus on range anxiety. Actually, it almost eliminates it. EV carmakers have focused on charging stations because working with cities, counties, and states, add many complex layers of approvals, rights, and construction.
So for now it is featuring a certain range and charging stations for EV adopters. But over the next 10 years, the EV charging environment might favor BMW’s approach.