BMW: Our future is electric and autonomous cars

BMW today announced it is shifting its development strategy toward more all-electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous technology in order to address a "new era" in the industry.

The luxury automaker's CEO, Harald Krüger, said the company would also focus on premium products and services for "individual mobility."

"The technological focus will therefore be on consistently achieving further advances in the fields of electric mobility and automated driving," Krüger said in a statement.

Under the banner of BMW iNEXT, the company will develop a third model in its i-Series of EVs.

The new i-Series car will include forms of automated driving and "digital connectivity" -- most likely Wi-Fi -- together with a new generation of lightweight construction and a redesigned interior design ethos "that will set new standards for the customer's mobility experience."

Krüger sees changes sweeping across the world of mobility through digitalization as an excellent opportunity to make mobile life simpler, safer and more convenient, thereby inspiring completely new customer groups.

A project referred to as "i 2.0" will focus on automated and fully networked driving. "The BMW Group will cement its position as technological leader in this field, too. A clear focus will be placed on high-definition digital maps, sensor technology, cloud technology and artificial intelligence, the decisive areas for success in this segment," BMW said in its statement.

"In the coming years, the BMW Group will focus on broadening its technological expertise, expanding the scope of digital connectivity between people, vehicles and services and actively strengthening sustainable mobility," the company said.

BMW will also increase the "scale of electrification" in its plug-in hybrids and with its upcoming fourth and fifth generations, extend electric range. The company also plans to build a plug-in hybrid MINI, though it didn't offer details about that vehicle.

The automaker will eventually have seven car models that will be either purely electrically powered, like the BMW i3, or feature a combination of combustion engine and electric motor as plug-in hybrids.

"The BMW Group also continues to develop hydrogen fuel-cell technology; the current test vehicles achieve a range up to 700 kilometres," it stated.

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