BMW keen to tap electric vehicle market in ASEAN

|     Ishan Ibrahim     |

THE BMW World of Passion and Joy motoring event held at Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Singapore from August 25 to 26, 2018, was a sterling success that showcased an impressive array of technologically advanced, stylishly designed and exciting vehicles from premium automobile manufacturer BMW.

But prior to the kicking off of the event, members of the regional media were treated to a welcoming dinner attended by senior officials from BMW Asia.

The informal event, held at a private function room at the prestigious Pan Pacific Hotel, Singapore, was made all the more memorable by charismatic hosts Suzanna Othman and Francis from BMW Asia.

A sumptuous spread awaited the dinner guests, but before they could tuck into it, Head of Product Management of the BMW i Dr Alexander Kotouc, delivered his welcoming speech.

Dr Kotouc noted that the product management responsibilities of the BMW i brand at the BMW Group lay with him, and that the BMW i represents a think tank and incubator for new ideas and technologies.

“The BMW i is unlike any other think tank that just produces ideas or shiny concepts that people can see at motor shows, but has a clear goal. Its goal is to bring electro-mobility and visionary mobility to the masses and achieve mass market success,” he said.

Head of Product Management of the BMW i Dr Alexander Kotouc. – IHSAN IBRAHIM

“For nearly 10 years BMW i has been successful with respect to this objective.”

Dr Kotouc also talked at length about the efforts of BMW to introduce electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to and achieve success in markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

In this context, he said that Malaysia has the potential to be the “Norway of Asia”; Norway is the world leader in electric car usage, with a market concentration of 21.5 registered plug-in cars per 1,000 people as of July 2016 – over 14 times higher than the figure for the United States.

“Within less than 10 years the majority of cars on Norway’s roads have changed from being combustion-driven to being electrified,” he explained further.

Dr Kotouc additionally emphasised that visionary mobility can be a global success if three things come together: firstly, the car manufacturers need to build highly emotional and fully functional electrified vehicles that customers desire to drive; secondly, energy providers, communities, cities and governments alike must believe in this changing mobility and render their support through the implementation a charging infrastructure that enables people to use electro-mobility on a daily basis; thirdly, customers who on a daily basis use mobility need to change their patterns and attitude toward new mobility solutions as well to make that change in reality.