BMW goes flex electric
BMW is opening a flex factory in Hungary capable of building both electric and standard petrol/diesel vehicles on the same production line. The new €1bn plant, near Debrecen, is the automaker’s first in Europe in 20 years and will have the capacity to build 150,000 cars per year.
“In the future, every BMW Group plant in Europe will be equipped to produce electrified as well as conventional vehicles,” says Oliver Zipse, BMW AG board member for production.
Electrification is one of the cornerstones of the BMW’s ‘Number One > Next’ corporate strategy that also includes artificial intelligence and self-driving cars.
The company announced last year that all of its brands and model series were electrifiable, with a full-electric or plug-in hybrid drivetrain being offered in addition to the combustion engine option.
Europe now boasts more than 1m million electric cars after sales spiked more than 40% in the first half of this year. The total could run to 1.35m at end-2018, according to data outfit EV-Volumes.
The German market has strongest growth, though Norway remains Europe's largest market for plug-ins, with a huge 37% share of light vehicle sales this year to date.
In the US, plug-in vehicle sales were up 37% in the first half, with a pretty much even split between pure electric and hybrids. EV-Volumes says it had been expecting better numbers, however delays of the long awaited Tesla Model 3 have impacted the market.