A new report from Automotive news Europe indicates that it is possible that a BMW chassis will be used on a future electric vehicle sold by a third party. Saudi Arabia is believed to be teaming up with iPhone maker Foxconn to form a joint venture that would be responsible for building electric vehicles. According to sources familiar with the matter, the new entity would be called “Velocity” and the electric cars would be seated on any chassis provided by the luxury brand.
While Foxconn will be responsible for the development of electronics, software and other components, it would only be a minority shareholder, as the most significant part of the investment would be made by Saudi Arabia. More specifically, by its Public Investment Fund which, according to DONKEY controls $ 450 billion (yes, with a “b”) asset value, so he would certainly have the funds to make Velocity a reality.
If all goes according to plan, an agreement with BMW could be signed before the end of the month. It wouldn’t be the first time for the German automaker, as the platform of its previous generation X5 was licensed to Vietnamese company VinFast to build the President SUV. In addition, the latest Range Rover uses the ubiquitous 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 in the most powerful version of the British luxobarge, while the Ineos Grenadier off-roader will be powered by six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines in BMW line.
Why is Saudi Arabia interested in manufacturing electric vehicles? According to DONKEY, the main idea is to diversify its economy in order to depend less on oil. Buying the rights to use an existing BMW chassis would speed up development significantly, but we’re betting that a real production electric car is still unlikely to hit the market until the middle of the decade. Beyond the car itself, you still need a location for a factory, along with the necessary labor and suppliers.
In addition, no final decision regarding the potential merger has been made. If the three-way collaboration happens, it will open up a new source of revenue for BMW, which would come at the perfect time given the cost for Bavarians to develop and build their own electric vehicles.
[Source: Automotive News Europe]