Making cars is a difficult business, just ask Tesla. Bending steel, running reams of cable, upholstering seats, slapping on mags and wheels is expensive, making margins slim by the time you’ve actually gotten the things to buyers. So it’s no surprise developing new car tech is just as difficult and costly. To mitigate this, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW have announced they’re going to work together developing next-gen electric drive units (EDUs).
There’s no ‘I’ in team (but there is one in i-Pace and i3)
According to an announcement earlier this week, Jag and BMW are undertaking “joint investment in research and development, engineering and procurement” that will” provide the necessary economies of scale to support increased consumer adoption of electric vehicles”.
Hopefully the move will also mean cheaper electric vehicles (EVs). We’ve driven Jaguar’s i-Pace and BMW’s i3 and can attest to their respective charms… the problem is their hefty price tags (not helped by the South African government’s abject apathy when it comes to offering tax breaks, rebates or other incentives for abandoning combustion engines).
We’ve also seen what’s coming in the not-too-distant future in the form of BMW’s iNext, the Mercedes-Benz EQC, Audi’s E-tron, and (on the probably-more-affordable-but-still-expensive front), the new Nissan Leaf e+. And we’re excited by it all. So anything that makes opting for an EV more attractive gets two enthusiastic, driving-glove-clad thumbs-up from us.
Sharing is caring
The British and German car makers also say the move will “support the advancement of electrification technologies, a central part of the automotive industry’s transition to an ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Shared) future”. Which sounds ace to us.
A team of Jaguar Land Rover and BMW Group experts will share R&D costs and engineer the EDUs “with both partners developing the systems to deliver the specific characteristics required for their respective range of products”.
Each company will use its own production facilities for the new EDUs. In Jag’s case, that means its Wolverhampton-based Engine Manufacturing Centre. BMW hasn’t specified which of its plants it’ll be using.
Hopefully this’ll encourage other makers of automobiles to collaborate, too, or risk being left behind in a cloud of… smugness.