BMW and JLR collaborate on electrification

posted by Lucy Patchett
6 June 2019

BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) have partnered up to cut the costs of developing electric cars.

The two automotive manufacturers have collaborated to tackle technological challenges and produce "Gen 5" electric drive units. The technology will be introduced to the market in 2020 with the BMW iX3 Sports Activity Vehicle.

The Gen 5 e-driving technology will be developed through a joint task force in Munich, starting with the manufacture of electric drivetrains, which will take place at each of the companies’ facilities.

The shared project will enable a reduction of costs through shared development, production planning, and joint purchasing. The technology will be the start of a strategic partnership upon which further evolutions of electrification technology will be based.

Klaus Fröhlich, board of management member at BMW AG, Development, said: “The automotive industry is undergoing a steep transformation. We see collaboration as a key for success, also in the field of electrification.

“With Jaguar Land Rover, we found a partner whose requirements for the future generation of electric drive units significantly match ours. Together, we have the opportunity to cater more effectively for customer needs by shortening development time and bringing vehicles and state-of-the-art technologies more rapidly to market.”

Both companies have experience with the production of electric vehicles. BMW has been developing and producing in-house electric drive units since 2013 with the BMW i-3, and JLR launched the Jaguar I-Pace in 2018.

The partnership is in alignment with JLR's "Charge and Accelerate" transformation programme to invest further in electrification, cut costs of £2.5bn and reduce around 4,500 of the global workforce through operational efficiencies. This phase of the programme began in January 2019 and will continue for 18 months. 

Separately, Ford announced that the Bridgend engine production plant in South Wales will be closing in September 2020, along with its production of JLR engines and Ford GTDi engines.

Dr Jonathan Owens, supply chain and logistics expert at the University of Salford Business School, said: “This closure will lead to the loss of 1,700 jobs, with at least a further 3,000 in the supply chain, to deliver yet another significant blow to UK car manufacturing.”

This closure is part of global redesign strategy with a renewed focus on Europe.

Owens warns that Ford have not moved quickly enough with the changing market and need to speed up their entrance into production of mass electric vehicles with significant competing range.

“Ford plans to release 16 fully electric vehicles within a global portfolio of 40 electrified vehicles by 2022. This is too late for Bridgend,” he added.

Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has pulled out of a proposed merger with Renault, saying the political conditions were not right in France for such a move.

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