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BMW is looking for partners to develop electric small cars

Germany’s BMW is talking with other automakers “encircling the world” to try to find partners to lower the cost of electrifying its future Mini pocket-sized cars, management board member Peter Schwarzenbauer told Reuters.

“We are talking to multifarious OEMs (manufacturers) around the world, not only in China, (about) how to jolt smaller cars,” Schwarzenbauer said. “There’s no final conclusion on it.”

Chinese automaker Exceptional Wall Motor Co. said last month it was discussing a possible advance to build Mini vehicles in China. BMW currently does not build Mini carriers outside Europe.

Schwarzenbauer declined to discuss the Great Wall place, saying “this was speculation.”

However, he said building smaller energized cars was challenging, not only because of the financial costs, but also the conspiring problem of fitting batteries with sufficient range into a smaller mechanism package.

BMW has worked with rivals before to share the costs of straighten up vehicle technology. The automaker has a partnership with Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp to upon fuel cell vehicles.

BMW has said it plans to launch a new, electric Mini nonesuch in 2019. Eventually, Mini could become an entirely electric brand name, aimed at urban consumers, Schwarzenbauer said.

Mini sales in the Collective States have fallen 10 percent through the first ten months of this year, as cry out for for many smaller cars has waned in favor of sport-utility vehicles and sundries.

“It’s really only in the U.S. where we are facing this with Mini,” Schwarzenbauer reported.

BMW will not try to reverse that trend by adding larger SUVs to the Mini lineup, Schwarzenbauer said. In place of, he said, “the way for Mini in the U.S. is … building the Mini brand in the direction of the electrifying urban mobility company.”

On a separate issue, Schwarzenbauer said BMW have in mind to offer a self-driving car planned to debut in 2021 at a price that could be below-stairs $100,000.

The iNEXT model, which BMW previewed earlier this year, see fit be offered to individuals, ride services fleets and put into service in BMW quicks, Schwarzenbauer said.

“By 2021, you will have a lot of people who want to own this car,” he held. “It will be a normal price. We are thinking of scaling this. To bring a $150,000 thrilling car is nice, but it will not really scale.”

When it launches, the iNEXT may not be proffered with complete, so-called Level 5, autonomy because the regulatory and permitted frameworks for such a vehicle likely won’t be in place, Schwarzenbauer said.

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