Did you know that the BMW iFactory isn’t an Apple product? In fact, it’s not even a physical building–it’s a “lean, green, and digital” strategy that BMW developed to bring their Ultimate Driving Machines into the age of electric cars.
You’ll be reading a lot about BMW’s fleet electrification as it’s happening quickly. The EU has proposed a ban on fossil-fuel-powered vehicles by 2035. That’s just over a decade away and it’ll be here before you know it. I blinked recently and went from changing diapers to providing shuttle service to travel sporting events–where does the time go?
Some of the latest news regarding BMW’s electric lineup comes out of the Dingolfing plant in Southeast Germany–a plant where one in four vehicles produced has an electric drivetrain. The new 7 Series, in both EV and combustion variants, went into production on July 1st. That’s right, BMW’s flagship sedan now comes in an i7 flavor. The Dingolfing plant has produced the 7 Series since 1977, so it’s a fitting location for the next step in the series’ evolution.
On the topic of the 7, Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG Board Member for Production, said, “Our new BMW 7 Series is the first luxury sedan in the world to offer customers a choice between three types of drive. Whether fully electric, combustion-powered or, soon, plug-in hybrid, we have the flexible production structures and outstanding integration skills we need to manufacture such a diverse range of drives efficiently.”
In a recent press release, BMW stated, “The BMW i7, especially, marks the next step in the BMW Group’s electromobility campaign for the luxury segment, which Dingolfing has come to symbolize.” Nedeljković added, “Exactly a year ago, we were here to celebrate the start of production of our BMW iX. Today the BMW i7 is the latest milestone on our journey. Next year will see the launch of the fully electric variant of the BMW 5 Series as we step up the pace of electromobility and electrify our core model series.”
By 2025, 50 percent of the vehicles BMWs leaving the Dingolfing plant are expected to be fully electric. BMW has refined and modularized their production process to help make this happen. According to Plant Director Christoph Schröder, “The new BMW 7 Series is assembled on the same line as the BMW 5 Series, 8 Series and the fully electric BMW iX. We are 100 percent flexible and able to switch between drive variants for the BMW 7 Series.” The plant for production of e-Drive components also happens to be in Dingolfing, which is strategically located so that the Dingolfing plant can produce the iX, i4, iX3, and now the i7.
I have a feeling we’re going to see an increase in EV news from BMW, both in their manufacturing processes and their technological advances, and I’m looking forward to it.–Mike Bevels
[Photos courtesy of BMW.]