BMW recently teased a new electric vehicle (EV) it hopes can rival Tesla. For now called the BMW Concept i4, the four-door, fully electric Gran Coupé will feature an electric range reaching up to 600 kilometers (373 miles) and up to 530 horsepower — and it makes a huge statement on the future of electromobility, i.e. the use of electric cars.
The Concept i4 will also feature BMW’s eDrive technology, which the company uses in all of its EVs and plug-in hybrids. It comprises an electric motor, a high-voltage lithium-ion battery, and an intelligent energy management system, according to Open Road Auto Group.
BMW said it will not use rare earth elements in the electric motor. Environmental issues and mining rare earth elements go hand-in-hand: The mining of rare earth elements generally occurs through open-pit mining, which opens up the earth’s surface with equipment and machinery — which, to start, can disrupt ecosystems. Mining rare earth elements also results in creating waste that is harmful to the environment.
BMW’s CEO, Oliver Zipse, told CNBC that the Concept i4 will bring “electromobility to the heart of the BMW brand.” The EV is fast, with “an acceleration of less than four seconds from zero to 100 kilometers an hour,” he said. The automaker sold over 140,000 EVs last year, he added, while raving that he is “quite positive about our profitability in the future, even with electromobility.”
The company believes in what it describes as electromobility, stating “that’s why we are launching many new electrified vehicles over the next few years.” Its 2018 Sustainable Values Report also mentions electromobility, proclaiming that the automaker intends to “set standards in electromobility.” To make that happen, BMW aims to put 25 electric vehicle models, including the Concept i4, on the road by 2025, 12 of which will be fully electric.
For example, BMW launched the fully electric Mini Electric last fall. The company said it has registered over 120,000 consumers who are interested in this EV and close to 7,000 committed orders for the vehicle. And BMW’s first all-electric Sports Activity vehicle, the BMW iX3, will launch this year, along with more plug-in hybrids.
BMW has over half a million electrified vehicles on the road today and claims it intends to double that amount by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, the automaker’s competitors, from Volkswagen to General Motors, also have ambitious plans to introduce more models of EVs and develop new battery technologies over the next several years.
Worldwide, EV deployment increased by 63 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to estimates by the International Energy Agency. The number of charging units globally increased by 44 percent over the same time period. This expansion and boost in increased consumer acceptance likely will continue.
Watch for this shift away from conventional automobiles to continue. The number of EVs on the road globally increased from 2.3 million in 2018 to 7.9 million in 2019. Markets and Markets, a business-to-business research firm, projected that the EV market will reach over 26 million units by 2030, an exponential increase from the estimated 3.26 million units driving on roads and highways in 2019.
As TriplePundit has long discussed, the expansion of the EV market helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The reason why is simple: EVs produce fewer emissions over their lifecycle, not just at the tailpipe, the U.S. Department of Energy points out. There are fewer emissions for electricity generation than burning gasoline or diesel in a vehicle. Driving the average EV produces the amount of global warming pollution equal to a conventional vehicle getting 88 miles per gallon fuel economy, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The nonprofit group’s estimate for EV emissions today is nearly 10 percent lower than its 2018 estimate.
“For the personal vehicle trips that we can’t avoid today, switching to an EV can make a big difference in how much global warming emissions we produce and is one of the biggest actions a household can take to reduce their carbon footprint,” wrote UCS’s David Reichmuth.
Image credit: BMW USA
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.