BMW and Daimler have agreed on a partnership on autonomous driving. It seems that the cooperation will go further and is also set to includea common platform for electric cars in the compact segment, according to auto motor und sport magazine. The future BMW i2 and Mercedes EQA could be build on the same platform.
Auto motor und sport magazine reports that all-time rivals BMW and Mercedes will extend their cooperation after a strategic and long-term partnership for autonomous driving has been settled.
The new stage of cooperation include a scalable platform for the next generation of vehicles capable of autonomous driving levels 3 and 4. As BMW announced, the platform for autonomous driving is also open to other companies from the car industry. According to rumors, besides the suppliers Bosch and Continental, the VW Group is also a hot candidate for it.
However, VW has already developed a dedicated platform for the electric cars named MEB (Modular Electric Baukasten), which will be used for all the vehicles of the Group and for many models as well.
On the other hand, BMW and Mercedes are in search of profitability for their electric platform, because they would be unable to sell the volumes that Volkswagen sells. Auto motor und sport indicates that BMW and Mercedes will develop common components like transmissions and batteries for the electric cars, but their models will keep the character of the brand.
It seems that BMW wants to build only one electric model in partnership with Mercedes and “Head of Development Klaus Fröhlich would have told it to the future Daimler CEO Ola Källenius very clearly,” said the Wirtschaftsblatt newspaper.
This model should be in the compact class, where the cost pressure is very high. It is not clear what will happen with the current BMW i3, a revolutionary model built by BMW on a special platform with very expensive materials like carbon fiber reinforced plastic.
BMW has changed its strategy after deciding that the i3 and all future e-cars of the Munich-based company and MINI will be developed on traditional platforms: MINI E, BMW iX3, i4 and iNext.
According to Manager Magazin, Frohlich plans an i2 as a successor of the i3, but without carbon fiber body and wants to build this car in cooperation with Mercedes. Mercedes officials were though surprised by how much BMW wants to save using this new platform. The i2 should cost less than 30,000 euros for a range of around 300 km, compared with 38,000 euro for the current i3. This way, the future i2 and Mercedes parallel model will compete with VW I.D.Neo, which will have a similar price tag.
The Mercedes model could be the future EQA, the electric version of the A-Class. The i2/EQA will not be ready before 2024, according to auto motor und sport magazine, while VW will show the I.D. Neo this year, planning to sell around 100,000 units in 2020.