Here’s another recent electric vehicle rumor popping out of Europe, this time implicating BMW. German magazine Wirtschaftswoche (hat tip to John Voelcker) reports that the board of BMW is evaluating potential designs for a 100% electric SUV based on the planned BMW X7 SUV. This would be in addition to the BMW X5 eDrive plug-in hybrid, which is much further along and expected to be released this year or early next.
The thought is that a 100% electric version of the BMW X7 would compete with the Tesla Model X, but there are a few issues with that, as with all so-called “Tesla fighters.” For one, it would theoretically come out a couple of years after the Model X, so, if anything, it would be competing with a two-year-old model. Secondly, there’s no indication yet that BMW can actually create an electric vehicles that competes with a Tesla. And thirdly, BMW doesn’t have a Supercharger network.
The rumor is not terribly surprising, though, as BMW has previously indicated on multiple occasions that it plans to have plug-in versions of all of its models by 2020. BMW is arguably the auto manufacturer that is 2nd most serious about the EV revolution, or 3rd or 4th behind Renault–Nissan and/or General Motors, depending on how you look at things.
BMW CEO Harald Kruger is reportedly waiting to see the public reaction to the Tesla Model X after its unveiling before bringing a final proposal to the board. Or perhaps he’s waiting to see what kind of range, acceleration, and fancy features the X comes with. Given that there are ~24,000 reservations for the Model X, I’d say that there is a lot of demand for the segment. Even if Tesla nails it, I’m sure there will be some buyers who would go for an all-electric BMW SUV. The questions are, how many people choose an electric X7 over a Model X, and what could BMW do to actually make its model competitive?