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BMW “tears” and fears over EV profits

Batteries in a BMW i3

German automaker believes profits will be minimal until battery capacity is doubled, which could take up to seven years

BMW does not expect much profitability from battery-powered cars in the near few years.

“We simply have to walk through the valley of tears” to work out how to make more money on producing electric cars, Stefan Juraschek, the company’s vice president of electric-powertrain development, told reporters recently during a tour of a BMW test facility in Munich.

The carmaker already has released the i3 EV and i8 hybrid, a mass market city car and sports car respectively. BMW’s next electric car, a sports utility vehicle, will be launched in 2021.

Electric-car batteries – at least those of any practical range – tend to be heavy, dragging down the overall efficiency of the vehicles. “There’s a clear trend to bigger electric cars and longer driving ranges,” said Juraschek, so batteries must become more efficient.

BMW anticipates that it will take approximately seven years to double the amount of energy stored in a battery.

However, there is considerable internal and external pressure for BMW and others to rise to the challenge. The company’s deputy chairman of the board and head labour representative, Manfred Schoch, has stated publically that it must accelerate EV development and roll-out. “Management must invest in electric mobility now,” he said in November.


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