BMW ramps up investment in China to meet electric demand

BMW CEO Harald Krueger, right, underlined the importance of China to the German automaker, saying the country, with its increased demand for electric vehicles, is a dynamic growth market for his country. (AP Photo)
Updated 11 October 2018
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BMW ramps up investment in China to meet electric demand

  • Munich-based BMW said it would pay €3.6 billion to raise its stake in BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. to 75 percent
  • BMW will invest in new and existing plant facilities in Shenyang, increasing production capacity to 650,000 vehicles a year from the early 2020s

FRANKFURT: German automaker BMW is taking a majority stake in its China joint venture and investing €3 billion ($3.5 billion) in factories there, underscoring the importance of the Chinese market as the company prepares to meet increased demand for electric vehicles.
Munich-based BMW on Thursday said it would pay €3.6 billion to raise its stake in BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. to 75 percent from 50 percent.
Alongside the deal, BMW will invest in new and existing plant facilities in Shenyang, increasing production capacity to 650,000 vehicles a year from the early 2020s. The plants produced 400,000 vehicles last year.
A new plant will be able to produce fully electric, partly electric, and conventional vehicles on the same line.

 

The Chinese government has issued a new energy vehicle mandate which uses a system of credits to push automakers to increase the share of battery-only and hybrid cars in their sales mix.
The policy is expected to increase the number of electrically powered vehicles in the world’s largest car market over coming years.
Last year, battery-only and hybrid cars were 2.2 percent of the Chinese market; the International Council on Clean Transportation estimates that could rise to around 4 percent by 2020 under the policy.
The country is BMW’s single largest sales market, with 560,000 vehicles sold there last year.
The deal is subject to approval by regulators and shareholders of Chinese partner Brilliance China Automotive Holdings.
BMW is taking advantage of the Chinese government’s plans to end the requirement that foreign auto manufacturers enter into joint ventures with local partners in order to make cars in China. The BMW-Brilliance deal is scheduled to close in 2022, the year the requirement ends.
“With continuous investment, as well as the development and production of electric vehicles, we underline China’s importance as a dynamic growth market for us,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said in a statement.

FASTFACTS

China is BMW’s single largest sales market, with 560,000 vehicles sold there last year.


Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

Updated 15 October 2018
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Saudi energy minister compares electric vehicle ‘hype’ to peak oil misconceptions

  • Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market
  • Compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil

LONDON: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Monday questioned what he described as the “hype” of the electric vehicle market and compared it to past misconceptions around the theory of peak oil.
He told the CERAWeek energy gathering by IHS Markit in New Delhi that petrol and diesel engines would co-exist with emerging electric and hydrogen fuel cell technologies for much longer than widely expected.
Miscalculations around the pace of electrification could create “serious” risks around global energy security, he said.
“Conventional vehicles today, despite all the hype, represent 99.8 percent of the global vehicle fleet. That means electric vehicles with 0.2 percent of the fleet, only substitute about 30,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent of a total global oil demand of about 100 million barrels.
“Even if those numbers increase by a factor of 100 over the next couple of decades, they would still remain negligible in the global energy mix.”
He said: “History tells us that orderly energy transformations are a complex phenomenon involving generational time frames as opposed to quick switches that could lead to costly setbacks.”
In another broadside aimed at electric vehicles, the Saudi energy minister highlighted past misconceptions about global energy demand growth — and specifically the notion of “peak oil.”
“I remember thought leaders within the industry telling us that oil demand will peak at 95 million barrels per day. Had we listened to them and not invested . . . imagine the tight spot we would be in today.”
“Let’s also remember that in many parts of the world, roughly three fourths of the electricity, which would also power electric vehicles, is currently generated by coal, including here in India. So you could think of any electric vehicle running in the streets of Delhi as essentially being a coal-powered automobile.”
“When it comes to renewables, the fundamental challenge of battery storage remains unresolved — a factor that is essential to the intermittency issue impacting wind and solar power. Therefore the more realistic narrative and assessment is that electric vehicles and renewables will continue to make technological and economic progress and achieve greater market penetration — but at a relatively gradual rate and as a result, conventional energy will be with us for a long, long time to come.”