EV Buyers First Consider Usage Pattern Rather than Range of Car: BMW India President

BMW India sales have been robust in 2023. Company sustained its exceptional performance by achieving the highest-ever annual sales (January – December) across all three brands: BMW, MINI, and BMW Motorrad. In 2023, BMW sold a combined total of 14,172 cars across the BMW and MINI brands. Additionally, the company achieved sales of 8,768 motorcycles under the BMW Motorrad division. The BMW iX and Mini 3 door Cooper SE emerged as the top-selling electric vehicles (EVs) for the brand in 2023. The company reported a three-fold surge in EV sales, totaling 1,474 units in CY 2023. BMW last year sale is grew 18 percent compared to last year.  

Ankit Sharma from Gadgets 360 got a chance to sit down with Mr. Vikram Pawah, President at BMW Group India, to gain insights into this development and company’s future plan. Some responses have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Ankit Sharma: BMW 2023 sales numbers are remarkable. What strategies do you plan to implement to surpass these numbers in 2024?

Vikram Pawah: We are quite confident in the acceptance and demand for the new products we launched in 2023. The supply of these products was limited last year. As we assess the consistent supply of these products throughout the year, we anticipate witnessing growth momentum. Apart from this, we will launch a total of 19 products in 2024.

These include 13 new cars and six two-wheelers. There will also be an increase in demand due to the arrival of these new products in the market. However, we would like that the positive sentiment of demand in the industry should remain the same. Currently, consumer confidence is high and is expected to remain strong throughout the year. Considering these factors, we anticipate outperforming our 2023 performance in 2024.  

Ankit Sharma: India is rapidly moving towards green energy with full government support for the industry. What have been the company’s EV sales so far, and what are the company’s targets and plans for the EV segment?

Vikram Pawah: BMW has been working on electric cars for the last 10 years. Company first electric car, the BMW i3, was launched in 2013. This shows how early we were committed to electric cars. BMW India sold a total of 14,172 cars in 2023, of which the share of electric cars is almost 10 percent. We have sold a total of 1,474 electric cars in 2023, which is 325 percent more than in 2022.

The BMW iX emerged as our top-selling luxury electric vehicle in 2023. Our goal is to elevate the share of electric cars in our overall sales to 25 percent by 2025. Additionally, we plan to introduce two new electric cars in 2024.  

Ankit Sharma: A year ago, electric vehicles typically had a range of 300 to 400 kilometers, but this has now risen to an average of 600 kilometers, a benchmark also met by BMW. Some Chinese company, is currently pushing the boundaries with an impressive 1,000 km range. What technological advancements is BMW pursuing to achieve a similar extended range for its vehicles?

Vikram Pawah: The range of all our EV vehicles comes in a very regional range, which is between 300 to 600 km. I would convey to the customer that the range is more than just a number. The key question is understanding the customer’s usage.We work to provide service to our customers as per their usage. If your daily commute is just 40 to 50 kms, additional range becomes less impactful. 

Let me give the example of our Mini customer who doesn’t even drive his car almost daily. Typically, these customers embark on weekend trips, making a range of 280 to 300 kilometers sufficient for their needs.  

1000 Km range is well-suited for Europe or others countries where daily commute average between 90 to 100 kms. In India, most people’s daily commute is around 40 to 50 kilometers. Our BMW customers also travel 40 to 50 kms daily. If we talk about battery technology in electric mobility, we are already on the 5th generation and working on the 6th generation. We are already operating at an advanced level. 

Ankit Sharma: Do you think customers are still avoiding buying EVs because of range or charging infrastructure? What advice would you give to EV buyers?

Vikram Pawah: Electric mobility doesn’t have just one dimension. Apart from this, efficiency is also a factor in how quickly the battery can be charged. Along with charging speed, efficiency of the battery, life of the battery a lot of things are important along with a range. This is a comprehensive package that we strive to offer to our customers. We assure our customers that the battery will maintain a 100% performance level for seven years.

As far as charging is concerned, we offer our users a free complimentary AC charging station that can be installed in their parking space. In such a situation, our customers are not reliant on any external charging stations. For inter-city or long-distance travel, we have 56 fast charging stations spread across 33 cities, providing convenient charging options. We offer information about charging stations through our website and app, enabling our customers to plan their routes effectively.

Through our website and app, we provide information about charging stations to our customers, so that they can plan their route accordingly. However, I would like to advise potential EV buyers to align their purchase with their usage patterns, similar to selecting an engine’s power based on needs. Certainly, if charging stations are installed at all petrol and diesel stations in India, it will undoubtedly boost the sales of EV cars in India.

Ankit Sharma: BMW India is facing increased competition from luxury carmakers like Mercedes-Benz and Audi. There are also reports that Tesla may enter India soon. How does BMW plan to maintain its market share? 

Vikram Pawah: Tesla has a worldwide presence, and similarly, we also operate on a global scale. The entry of more players into the market is beneficial, as it not only enhances competition but also stimulates increased demand. With a 16-year presence in the Indian market, we wholeheartedly welcome Tesla in India. India is a very important market for us and we are committed to continuously providing the best technology cars and services for the people.    

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