Headline, August 22 2021/ CARS : ''' '' ELECTRIC STUDENTS ELEMENTS '' '''



BMW EXEMPLIFIES THE DIFFICULT CALCULATIONS THAT established carmakers must make as the industry shifts to electric power. It takes four or five years to design a new car, to equip a factory to build it and to organize a network of suppliers.

Auto executives have to make billion dollar bets based on their estimates of what car buyers will want half a decade from now, and of what kind of technology will be available.

No one really knows what sort of electric vehicles will prove popular as the market expands beyond early adopters, who tend to be affluent and environmentally conscious. Will they want car designs that signal a break with the past? Or will they want electric cars that look and perform like the gasoline models they're used to.

Eight years ago, BMW was one of the major automakers to sell a battery-powered car : The i3 broke ground with its lightweight carbon-fiber body and aluminum chassis.

But lately, the German company, known for its sporty luxury cars and ''ultimate driving machines,'' has fallen behind in the global race to develop the next generation of electric vehicles.

Unlike General Motors or Volvo, BMW has not set a date to bury the internal combustion engine. Unlike Volkswagen, it has not begun selling a full line of vehicles designed from the ground up to run on batteries. As other auto executives wax optimistic about an electric future, Oliver Zipse, the BMW chief executive, has criticized plans by the European Union to ban gasoline and diesel engines by 2025.

''I'm a little concerned about BMW,'' said Peter Wells, director of the Center for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff Business School in Wales. When it comes to committing to a full lineup of electric vehicles, he said, ''they have been quite ambivalent.''

The perception that BMW is an electric vehicle laggard helps explain why investors have begun to sour on the company's shares, which fell even after the company reported a healthy quarter net profit this month of 4.8 billion euros, or about $5.6 billion. BMW shares have tumbled 18 percent since early June.

At BMW headquarters in Munich, company executives said they will prove the critics wrong in coming months. In the fall, BMW will begin selling a battery powered sport utility vehicle, the iX, in Europe; it will arrive in the United States early next year. The iX will be the first BMW since the i3 designed around battery power, rather than being a conversion of a gasoline or diesel car.

''Maybe you didn't see that much, but we've been working hard,'' Adrian van Hooydonk, design director at BMW, said during an interview at BMW World, the company's showcase in Munich.

BMW executives say the iX manifests a commitment to electric propulsion that falls short of rivals on the level of braggadocio. They cite the dedicated research center in Munich where BMW is developing its own battery technology. They point out that BMW is engineering a collection of specialized components that will underpin a family of electric vehicles beginning in 2025, which in their view is when the market will take off.

It's too early to tell. Sales of electrified vehicles are growing fast, but remain less than 4 percent of the total market in the United States.

The market is dominated by Tesla, which is building a factory in Berlin. Tesla's Model 3 is the best selling electric car in Western Europe, where plug in vehicles accounted for 17 percent of the new car sales in the first half of the year, or one million vehicles, according to Schmidt Automotive Research in Berlin.

The i3, which BMW began producing in 2013, was a lesson in the perils of coming to market too early. The carbon-fiber body mounted stop aluminum chassis won design awards and was an engineering feat, but it was expensive to produce.

Not many people were willing to pay more than $40,000 for what was essentially a hatchback that could travel about 80 miles on a charge, Later models have improved batteries and can go more than 150 miles between charges.

In 2025, BMW plans to begin building vehicles on a platform - a collection of components that can be shared by numerous different models - that is optimized for battery power. That is the year when many analysts believe that electric cars will become less expensive to buy than gasoline models, and sales will take off. If so, BMW timing could prove to be perfect.

So far, though, the market has moved more quickly than predictions. In Europe, sales of electric vehicles have boomed during the pandemic. In the United States, the Biden administration gave electric vehicles a push this month when it unveiled a plan to raise sales of electric vehicles to 50 percent of new cars by 2030.

Even BMW's critics aren't counting it out. ''They're fantastic engineers,'' Mr. Wells of Cardiff Business School said. ''They can do it if they want.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Electric Cars, Research and Development, and the Future, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Jack Ewing.

With respectful dedication to Students, professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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