What makes a city?
Cities are characterised by exciting innovation, compelling ideas, rich culture and fast-paced change. It’s little wonder the world’s urban population has grown more than fourfold in the last 60 years. And over the next two decades, cities will become home to a further 1.5 billion people.
At the BMW Group, we believe we have a responsibility to help improve our cities’ infrastructure in a way that respects citizens and the environment, while enhancing quality of life. Individual mobility and the freedom to move around how and when we want is crucial to this. Our goal is to make urban mobility both more sustainable and more convenient.
Electrification is crucial to this, and it will form the backbone of a cleaner, quieter generation of city travel. In addition to our growing range of electric vehicles, we are developing a range of innovative solutions to drive this change. Our eDrive Zones, for example, have been introduced in more than 80 European cities. Within these zones, the BMW Group's plug-in hybrids automatically switch to electric mode using geofencing technology.
But we know that simply replacing one type of car with another will not solve all the issues our cities face. Car-sharing provides flexible, on-demand mobility, freeing up valuable street space. Our pioneering SHARE NOW partnership with Daimler AG already gives millions of people in cities across Europe access to a vehicle precisely when they need it.
We also recognise that a car might not always be the quickest and easiest way to get around. Demand for micromobility is growing fast. With FREE NOW, we’ve created an app that provides instant access to shared e-scooters, bikes and mopeds that are perfect for a quick hop across town. Our own brand new BMW CE 04 is a striking electric scooter that maximises mobility and riding pleasure.
Reimagining cities requires collaboration. The BMW Group is working closely with several cities to identify, develop and implement the best urban mobility solutions. In Munich and Hamburg, for example, we’ve been working with public and private partners to reduce traffic by directly connecting different mobility options with public transport.
All of these are important steps that can each take us one step closer to a cleaner, quieter and smarter city of the future. Combined, they reflect our approach to a new urban mobility landscape. By offering a green and premium mobility mix that suits most needs and secures as high a degree of individual freedom, we believe we are on the right track to helping making cities everywhere better for everyone.
How will we navigate the future?
As a society, we’ve always been interested in and curious about how space is allocated, and to whom. And right now, we see a new settlement being debated across the world. Sustainability, urbanisation, digitalisation and the pandemic are all catalysts for this. As megatrends, they change the context of mobility. At the same time, automotive innovations change mobility itself. These breakthroughs will have equally disruptive consequences on how we will navigate the future – or, rather, how we navigate our world in the future.
At the BMW Group, we see this as an opportunity to break down the old categories of “this is a car, this is a bike, this is a motorcycle.” Instead, we’re aligning mobility with the way people live today to come up with a number of creative solutions that combine electromobility with digitality and sustainability. They align with today’s and tomorrow’s lifestyles and harmonise with their surroundings. And they’re fun.
Our first step was to break down people’s mobility patterns into four categories: commute, inner city, adventure and long distance. For the commute into and out of the city, we’ve created the BMW i Vision Circular. It’s a true BMW, but with a minimal footprint, and taking up as little space as possible when parked or driving. Small on the outside, large on the inside, it pioneers our circular design approach to minimise the use of first materials and work in line with the principles of RE:THINK, RE:DUCE, RE: USE, and RE:CYCLE.
Still, sometimes, two wheels are better for the city. Our BMW i Vision AMBY combines an electric scooter and a pedal bike. It’s great for zooming into town and back out again at speeds of up to 60 km/h. It’s equally at home on bike lanes using muscle power. The perfect run-around for commuters. For those who hanker after bigger adventures out of town, we’ll offer a larger, more powerful BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY that’s closer to a motorbike and goes to places other vehicles can’t reach, including off-road. It’s a great way to leave the city behind, both physically and mentally.
Last-mile or micro-mobility has been a megatrend in recent years, allowing people to do short hops without breaking a sweat by jumping on a scooter to whizz from home to a nearby metro station. The new, electric BMW Motorrad Concept CE 02 appeals to the same, young target group who’ve driven this trend. It’s a stylish, sustainable way to live urban life to the full. And it’s engineered to BMW Motorrad standards.
Another vision for urban mobility comes from MINI. The MINI Vision Urbanaut is not just about driving – electric, of course. It has three completely different modes, or MINI MOODS, for every occasion. WANDERLUST is for digitally connected exploration. CHILL and VIBE turn the stationary MINI Vision Urbanaut into a living space for downtime alone or interaction with friends.
For longer distances, the BMW i4 and BMW iX are ideal, offering range, comfort and electric performance.
Finally, as a company, we’re always looking to collaborate with innovative start-ups with ground-breaking ideas. BMW Start-up Garage and MINI Urban-X Accelerator are our own dedicated incubators, nurturing and supporting the mobility pioneers of tomorrow – to the benefit of us, and everyone else who love calling the city their home.