BMW drives to cut battery costs, share costs on autonomous vehicles

  • Sunday 16, September 2018 in 12:23 PM
Sharjah 24 – Reuters: German luxury vehicle maker BMW AG plans more deals with mining companies to secure electric vehicle battery materials, and is open to forming alliances to share the costs of developing autonomous-vehicle systems, the automaker's research and development chief told Reuters.
BMW management board member Klaus Froehlich said automakers and large suppliers are beginning to discuss how to agree on one standard for autonomous-vehicle systems. Froehlich has said in the past automakers and suppliers should agree on a single standard.
"Everybody has an interest or should have an interest" in common autonomous-vehicle standards, Froehlich said earlier this week during an event to show off a futuristic, electric and autonomous sport utility vehicle.
Froehlich made his comments before a report in Automotive News on Friday that Volkswagen AG is interested in an industry alliance to standardize autonomous vehicle systems.
On batteries, Froehlich said, BMW is pursuing a strategy aimed at securing lower-cost batteries than rivals, in part by controlling the supply of raw materials for its battery-making partners.
"We will have agreements with mining companies," Froehlich said. "We have one agreement. There will be more." A key issue, he said, is securing cobalt from mines that do not exploit workers or employ children.
BMW rode a wave of electric vehicle marketing this month by European luxury brands. The German automakers and rivals, including Tata Motors Ltd's Jaguar Land Rover and Volvo Cars, a unit of China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Inc, are gearing up new electric models. The legacy automakers are under pressure from regulators in China, Europe and the state of California to field more clean vehicles. The European brands also want to keep more affluent consumers from flocking to vehicles made by Silicon Valley automaker Tesla Inc .
BMW has previously disclosed agreements with Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd. However, Froehlich said those companies will supply batteries using a proprietary BMW design.