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Basically after the current 3 series gets fully replaced by NK1 model in 2025 (including touring and M versions, presumably) it would become possible for the Munich BMW plant to be fully loaded with just BEV production if such is the demand from the customers. And all the downstream supply chains will be ready for that possibility.
 

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source article:

Interview: BMW boss Oliver Zipse (right) with Merkur editor Martin Prem.



Mr. Zipse, the auto industry is suffering from a shortage. Above all, it is about missing chips and disrupted supply chains. How is BMW doing?

It is of course a challenge to stabilize the supply chains. On the other hand, there is also a balancing effect: the demand is currently higher than the supply. This leads to price stabilization. The problem for us is not the deficiency itself, but rather the unpredictability. If we knew three months in advance that certain chips were not available, that would be less of a problem. In some cases, however, we only know a few days in advance.


Can you convert a production facility in a few days?

Yes, BMW has adjusted to it. The short-term nature is a real challenge, but we are set up so flexibly that we can deal with it. We have agreed with our social partners that we can cancel shifts at short notice in such cases, and working hours will then be reduced via the working time accounts. And we can start up again just as quickly. For decades we have geared the company towards maximum flexibility. It's no walk in the park, but we have a team that moves with us - because they recognize the need. That makes BMW strong.


But you are currently unable to meet demand in the short term.

We could sell more cars, that's right.


How long do you have to wait to order a new car?

That cannot be said across the board, it depends very much on the market situation and model. We have such strong demand for the i4 and iX that it can currently take a few months longer.

What is the cause now? The shortage or the high demand?

The combination of both. Here at the Munich plant, we are planning extra shifts for the i4 because the market demand is so high.


Do you have any indications as to when the shortage in semiconductors will be remedied?

That depends on the investment cycles of the semiconductor industry. If the demand is greater than the production capacities, investments are made. These cycles are 18 to 36 months. So the situation should slowly relax from the second quarter of 2022. And I assume that by the end of next year we will see largely normality.


There is also a lack of important raw materials. Will that be the bigger problem in the long run?

It is not new that individual raw materials cannot be delivered; there have always been market fluctuations. The topic of supply chains has come into focus for several reasons. The first is the discussion about semiconductors. The second is the focus on sustainability: where are the components made? Where do the raw materials come from? That is why we no longer source cobalt from the Congo, but from Australia. But we do not see any bottlenecks in either battery raw materials or classic raw materials that cannot be resolved.



On the electrical infrastructure: is it growing fast enough?

Our i4 is sold out for months
, as is the iX. The electric 7 Series is coming next year, so it won't be any different. The market is currently growing rapidly, but if the infrastructure doesn't keep up, this growth will be stifled. That is why we have analyzed for ourselves: What is the sum of public charging, private charging and charging at the workplace in Europe and worldwide? This data has not yet been available. But they are decisive for us.

What came out

In Europe, the number of electric cars is currently growing five times as fast as the infrastructure. Given this imbalance, it would be a mistake to ban the modern and constantly improving internal combustion engines. That would inevitably lead the largest industry in Germany into a contraction scenario. I warn against that. Rather, we advocate combining the CO2 targets with binding targets for the charging infrastructure.

When will it get tight: 2025?

We are investing in the infrastructure ourselves and are even bringing additional investors on board. The public mostly looks at long cross-country journeys, i.e. the highways. We are on the right track with our Ionity joint venture. However, public charging only accounts for around 20 percent of people's charging behavior. Private charging at home has by far the largest share. And there are still significant hurdles. Not only with the charging boxes, but also with the medium and low-voltage networks, i.e. the 'last mile'. Charging infrastructure is expensive for investors. It takes time for the business model to be profitable.

That could mean: the road to electromobility is still long?

We are driving electromobility at high speed. For example, we could build 100 percent electric cars in our Munich plant from 2026 if the market demands it. But we can still cover other drives. I assume that the market demand in 2026 will be so high that the plant will mainly build electric cars. Provided that the charging infrastructure moves along.

i4 production at BMW's main plant in Munich.  The new Stromer got off to a strong start.  Shortly after the start of production, the delivery times are already several months.

i4 production at BMW's main plant in Munich. The new Stromer got off to a strong start. Shortly after the start of production, the delivery times are already several months.



And what was the opinion of the employees about the board of directors?

We got a good testimonial. Even better than we hoped and expected. But that's not something we can rest on.
 
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