BMW launches new 7 Series with all-electric i7 model
BMW began pre-sales of the seventh generation of the BMW 7 Series on Wednesday, featuring for the first time an all-electric luxury sedan as well as hybrid and internal combustion engine (ICE) models.
All three versions will be assembled on the same production line in BMW's Dingolfing plant, with the first deliveries worldwide to take place from November 2022.
The i7 electric vehicle (EV), a competitor to Mercedes' electric EQS, will start at $119,300 (roughly R1,796,593) in the US and €135,900 (roughly R2,223,269) in Europe.
CEO Oliver Zipse predicted that demand for the ICE model would be higher in the US, where there is less stringent regulation of carbon emissions than in Europe or the UK.
"The markets in China, Europe and the Americas developed differently," Zipse said at a roundtable in New York.
"In Europe you have a growing electric vehicle (EV) market for all brands. In the US you have one brand that is super successful. It's completely different, The approach we're taking, to put flexibility first, works much better."
Three-quarters of EVs sold in the US in 2021 were Tesla cars, compared to 16.4% in Europe, with the Volkswagen brand only about 1,200 cars behind, according to data from research firms Cox Automotive and JATO Dynamics.
Zipse, who has long advocated against an all-out ban of combustion engine vehicles, said companies must be careful not to become too dependent on countries controlling resources essential for EVs.
Rising prices of raw materials needed for batteries made it more important to carry on investing in combustion engine cars, sales chief Pieter Nota added in a roundtable in Munich.
All cars will be equipped with level 3 autonomous driving capabilities, but the carmaker is awaiting permission from regulators to enable the feature — expected to take about 1-1/2 years in Europe, a spokesperson said.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments? Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.