Caption: Veloz Executive Director, Josh Boone, opens the “Putting the Pedal to the Medal” forum in Los Angeles on Nov. 29, 2018.
Amidst the excitement of the LA Auto Show, which brings 1,000 vehicles and countless auto enthusiasts together each year, there is an unmistakable buzz around what the future holds for sustainability and the car industry. BMW Group is helping lead the charge in accelerating the shift to electromobility in California by partnering with key sector companies, agencies and other nonprofits through the collaborative non-profit, Veloz.
Leading into the auto show, Veloz convened stakeholders for an in-depth forum on California’s electric car culture called, “Putting the Pedal to the Metal.” The forum sponsored by Veloz founding members BMW, Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power included insightful conversations about how automakers are accelerating electric cars in California, how California companies are advancing transportation electrification, and gubernatorial leadership on electric transportation.
Dr. Thomas Becker, Vice President of Government & External Affairs at BMW AG, joined the symposium to offer his perspective on fuel economy standards, the latest on BMW’s electric vehicle roadmap, and the company’s footprint in California.
BMW Group’s Electric Vehicle Roadmap
According to Dr. Becker, the BMW Group is committed to reducing the emissions of its fleet. In fact, the BMW Group has already introduced a significant number of fuel-saving technologies and implemented those throughout almost all of its model portfolio.
By 2025, the BMW Group will offer 25 electrified vehicles—12 of which will be fully electric. The first series electric MINI will be released in 2019 and the company will be introducing the first BMW SUV model—the X3—as a BEV in 2020.
During the LA Auto Show, the BMW Group premiered the iNEXT, our next technological innovation, due in 2021. Highly automated, emission-free, and fully connected, the BMW iVision NEXT brings together the BMW Group’s strategic innovation fields into a Vision Vehicle for the first time.
BMW Group’s Footprint in California
The LA Auto Show is an important event for the BMW Group given its own facilities and close relationships throughout the state. From their Designworks studio in LA to the R&D facilities in Mountain View and a Vehicle Emissions Testing Center in Oxnard, BMW is driving innovation in the state of California.
This year, BMW and PG&E, a fellow Veloz founding member, introduced the most advanced smart charging program, ChargeForward, to support utility grid efficiencies through management of vehicle charging times.
BMW is also partnering with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) in helping to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies. Dr. Becker is certain that LACI will lead the convergence toward a future that integrates shared mobility, zero emissions goods movement, and autonomy. Over the summer, BMW contributed to the ZEV Roadmap, which sets the goal to move toward an additional 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution beyond current commitments through accelerating transportation electrification. The goal is to achieve this reduction by the time the world arrives in Los Angeles for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Other local collaborations include a fleet of more than 200 all-electric BMW i3s at the LA Police Department to help the city improve the efficiency of their fleet and thus reach their sustainability targets, and a living laboratory at UC Davis, the world’s leading transportation policy institute, that will help inform other campuses, small cities, and towns about what to expect when integrating electric vehicles into fleets.
The kind of collaboration made possible by Veloz assembling such a high-powered and diverse board with membership of key sector companies, agencies, and nonprofits can help overcome barriers that still exist in advancing electrification.
“Making the big shift to electric cars is not simple or easy—consumer awareness and a favorable policy framework are key to success,” said Dr. Becker. “This is a new model for addressing a complicated problem. If successful, it can be a model for other states and nations. At BMW we are committed to Veloz and want to help accelerate the shift to electric cars in California.”