Why BMW's E-cars look like combustion engines

Why BMW's E-cars look like combustion engines

BMW thinks about electric cars a little differently than other carmakers.

E-mobility is the focus, but BMW's own "Power of Choice" strategy keeps the door open for plug-in hybrids, combustion engines and fuel cell vehicles. The design of the vehicles is uniform and hardly differentiates between the various drive alternatives.

The best example of this is BMW's flagship, the BMW i7, which visually combines much of the 7 Series combustion engine. If you compare it with its market companion Mercedes-Benz, you can see how direct differences are made between the Mercedes-Benz EQS and the S-Class. This may be because BMW builds combustion engines and electric cars on the same platform, whereas Mercedes-Benz relies on two different platforms.

BMW design chief Adrian van Hooydonk has commented on the Bavarians' design approach: "This was a conscious decision. We believe that electric mobility will come, but no one knows how fast. We felt that it would be beneficial to combine luxury and electromobility in one vehicle because otherwise, we could present our customers with an unpleasant choice shortly. Am I modern, do I want to drive electric, or do I want a certain comfort and space? So that's almost an unfair choice that we don't want our customers to have to make:"

Hooydonk did not comment on the extent to which the strategy will continue to be used in the coming years. Here, only a look at the past shows that the iX3, for example, only comes up with minor differences compared to the combustion engine alternative. The i4 and BMW 4 Series also show an undeniable closeness in terms of the various drive alternatives. However, it seems certain that the design of the BMW i7 will not be shrunk down from the luxury class.

BMW's head of design commented as follows: "We will offer more diversity in the character of the vehicle. It will not be one [design] language that applies to all our vehicles. Our product range is quite extensive at the moment, and we believe we need to tailor the character of these vehicles to each customer, as there are different competitors in each segment." About the BMW i7, however, it is already clear that its front-end design will be adopted for vehicles such as the 7 Series, the X7 and the XM.

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