Peter Schwarzenbauer and Munich's Environmental Officer Stephanie Jacobs are standing at an e-charging station

Collaborations for the Smart City.

04. September 2019
ca. 4 minutes

For now, electric vehicles are still the exception rather than the rule. This is mainly due to poor charging infrastructure and a lack of incentives. It is for this reason the BMW Group sees collaboration with cities as a tremendous opportunity. And because electric vehicles cannot reduce congestion on their own, mobility services are another important part of the concept.

Why should I drive an electric car? The benefits are plain to see. Whether you’re driving a plug-in hybrid or a fully-electric car, they are quiet, emission-free and a lot of fun. The EV smile – that grin you get the first time you drive an electric car. We’ve seen it many times at the BMW Group – ever since we started testing our 600 MINI Es around the world, back in 2009. Winning a traffic light race might not be that big of a deal, but it can definitely be a source of genuine joy.

But that alone is not enough and certainly not the primary goal of electromobility. The real focus is very different: How can we reduce CO2 emissions, halt climate change and make our cities more liveable? What can the BMW Group do to get more people to switch to electromobility? The answer is: We have to keep our finger on the pulse and constantly improve all our vehicles. This includes more range, but also better services. Because we are never satisfied with what we have achieved. That is why we are forming close partnerships with cities – so that we can make progress faster together and bring electromobility and mobility services to the road. Cities have to create the right conditions for people to enjoy using electric vehicles. This means building public charging infrastructure and providing EV parking. This can and should then be used by electric carsharing vehicles as well. And to ensure that charging posts and parking spaces are immediately put to use, BMW Group subsidiary ShareNow is gradually switching its fleet to electric vehicles. This will create a major incentive for city dwellers who would prefer to drive electric in the future – in their own car or a carsharing vehicle.

For us, this concept is an excellent example of how we can work with citizens and cities to develop solutions for sustainable urban transport and solve the chicken-and-egg problem in this area. We have been implementing projects like this in Munich, Berlin and Hamburg since 2015, with more international projects in the pipeline.

Our most recent success shows that we are on the right track: By the end of the year, 550 charging posts will be newly installed across Munich, creating 1,100 charging points throughout the city. At the same time, the BMW Group is increasing the number of BMW i3 models in its Munich ShareNow carsharing fleet from 85 to 200. This is just an early success from the agreement between the BMW Group and the City of Munich. In the next stages, we would like to bring up to 1,000 electrified vehicles into the Munich fleet – while the city continues to provide incentives in the form of charging points and parking spaces. Linking carsharing and electromobility has several advantages from our perspective. As described above, it provides citizens with an easy introduction to electromobility. At the same time, it also makes carsharing more attractive – because easy access to parking is one of the main levers for all drive forms. We believe that carsharing, in conjunction with other on-demand services, will become a genuine alternative to private vehicle ownership in the medium term. In many cities, it will improve the parking situation and limit the spread of cars.

Many cities seek solutions for scarce space and traffic. Electromobility and integrated on-demand mobility solutions can contribute significantly, if providers and cities cooperate.




Emission-free mobility will not be enough to change the world. That’s one of the reasons why the BMW Group developed its first wholly sustainable series-production vehicle, the BMW i3. This pioneering work “demanded a totally new way of thinking from all of us”, explains Daniela Bohlinger, who promotes sustainability at all BMW Group design brand studios.


Anyone who buys a plug-in hybrid or an electric car is clearly doing their bit for the environment. These vehicles already have a much smaller carbon footprint than models with a petrol or diesel engine. But environmentally-friendly electric cars have yet to realise their full potential: They still have a lot to offer.

A charging cable next to a MINI SE


At the BMW Group, we take responsibility for future generations. We’re investing in future technologies that will help solve significant challenges facing society: as part of this process, the new fully electrically powered MINI Cooper SE is another contribution by the BMW Group to improving the quality of life. Find out where we stand as a company on electromobility and why the fully electrically powered MINI is the right car to tackle the challenges facing society today.