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Dr. Tilo Schweers, Head of Development, Alternative Drives, Borgward Group AG - Copyright Borgward Group AG

Guest commentary by Dr. Tilo Schweers

Borgward is working intensively on the electrification of the drive train and will present a purely electric SUV based on the BX2017 series for the European market at the upcoming IAA 7. The BX7 EV will offer competitive range and acceptable charging times. However, those are not the only advantages. As is typical of the brand, this model will also convince our customers with unrivaled space in this class, a high level of comfort, the best possible security, modern online infotainment and German design. This describes Borgward's guiding principle: We understand the future of the automobile in such a way that our customers should get the best of both worlds. State-of-the-art and environmentally friendly electric drive technology on the one hand, paired with the typical advantages of conventional automobiles in terms of comfort, driving dynamics, safety or reliability, on the other.

This also means that in the future the range and charging times of purely electric vehicles will approach the level of the refueling process of conventional automobiles. Reloading would then take no longer than refueling if there were three other cars waiting at the pump. The difference: In the case of an electric car, the charging station is already reserved because the charging station and the car communicate with each other in advance. Then travelers with e-vehicles need a quarter of an hour to recharge - and the journey continues. And people should take a 15-minute break after a long journey anyway - at least as long as the cars are not driving completely autonomously. This is also one of our development goals because we take a holistic view of the individual mobility of tomorrow. E-mobility and autonomous driving can ideally complement each other. For example, when the networked systems direct traffic in such a way that there are neither traffic jams nor long queues at charging stations.

Of course, we also want to convince those customers who would like to drive Borgward but do not yet trust the electric drive and want to have an internal combustion engine on board as a backup. That is why we are also working with our international development team on vehicles with hybrid drives. For Borgward, however, plug-in hybrids are a bridging technology towards the purely electric vehicle.

Whether hybrid drive or e-vehicle: As part of our global market strategy, local vehicle production with drive technology tailored to the respective markets is important. The e-vehicles for the German and Central European markets are produced in Bremen. There - in the cradle of Borgward - a new production facility is currently being built, which, like our main plant in Miyun, China, near Beijing, will produce according to the latest Industry 4.0 standards. The opening is planned for 2018. In the first expansion phase, we will manufacture up to 10.000 SUV models there annually.

Of course, in order to develop the e-vehicle market, we not only need attractive vehicles, but also an appropriate infrastructure - the EU as well as the federal, state and local authorities in Germany are particularly in demand here. After all, politics cannot ban vehicles with conventional combustion engines from urban areas on the one hand, but on the other hand prevent the expansion of a locally emission-free e-vehicle fleet through inaction with regard to the charging infrastructure and at the same time demand 1 million e-vehicles on our roads by 2020. The biggest upheaval in individual mobility to date can only be achieved if politicians support the path to e-mobility that the automotive industry has taken.



Dr. Tilo Schweers is Head of Development for Alternative Drives at Borgward Group AG

Guest commentary from green car magazine, issue I / 2017

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