Mercedes Benz and BMW may be planning to jointly develop a new electric car platform that the two companies would share. That’s according to AutoBlog, which cites reports by two German news outlets — Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Auto Bild — as its sources.
The two companies suggest cooperating on the project could save both of them about $7 billion in development costs. While that may be true, it is also a herald of things to come as more and more legacy automakers are exploring collaboration agreements to tame the enormous costs of transitioning from the internal combustion based manufacturing model that has been the cornerstone of the industry for the past 100 years to the new electric and self-driving paradigm that is the future.
Gasoline and diesel engines are not going away entirely, however. Any new jointly developed chassis will be capable of being fitted with a good old fashioned internal combustion engine if market trends change and the companies can sell a few more cars based on the antiquated “suck-push-bang-blow” principle.
The two companies are already working together on the development of advanced driver assistance systems and mobility services. Their cooperation also extends to a joint procurement program that seems to lower costs throughout their respective supply chains.
BMW Will Trim Model Selection
Last week, BMW also announced it will reduce the number of models in its lineup in coming years as it transitions to building more electric and electrified automobiles. It said the process will begin by not offering a replacement for the Series Gran Turismo introduced to the US market in 2013 even though that car still has a “good level of demand.” It is normal in the industry for new models to be produced for about 7 years before a replacement arrives.
“Measures already in place to reduce product portfolio complexity are being expanded and also applied to model derivatives,” BMW said. The change in focus is said to be the result of “a cooling global economy” and increased production costs. Another contributing factor is shifting market trends as sedans and hatchbacks give way to more crossovers and SUVs.
BMW restated its plan to increase its range of electric and electrified vehicles. It expects to offer 12 battery electric models by 2025. The MINI Electric will go on sale later this year and the Chinese built iX3 will arrive in 2020. It will be the first model to use BMW’s fifth generation electric powertrain which features a motor that does not require rare earth elements, according to CNET.