Portrait Oliver Zipse Portrait Oliver Zipse

Driving the Next Era

Technological expertise, visionary innovations and the important ability to anticipate: in this interview, Oliver Zipse explains how the BMW Group will influence the next era of mobility through expertise and vision. And he talks about that which symbolises not only the mobility of tomorrow but also the future of the company: the NEUE KLASSE.

Mr Zipse, you have been pursuing a broad technological approach for years out of conviction …

Oliver Zipse: There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to mobility. Markets, customer wishes and general conditions develop differently. This is a fact. As a global company, we need to take this into account. We are continuing to develop all power train technologies, including further researching the potential of hydrogen with our BMW iX5 Hydrogen pilot fleet. This approach is also increasingly recognised and understood in political and social discourse.

The latest example of this flexible approach is the new BMW 5 Series …

Oliver Zipse: Following on from the Sedan, the new Touring also offers all options: fully electric, highly efficient diesel and petrol engines or plug-in hybrid. For every drive system, we have an ultramodern and environmentally friendly technology on the market. No one else offers a vehicle like the all-electric BMW i5 Touring with an electric range of over 500 kilometres.
And, of course, we are also thinking of the fans of the BMW M brand: this year they can look forward to a new edition of the M5 – as a Sedan and as a Touring. Both models will excite customers with a partially electrified drive – highly emotional and powerful.

Oliver Zipse

The 21st of March 2024 was also a highly emotional day. What made this year’s BMW Group Annual Conference so special?

Oliver Zipse: A picture is worth a thousand words: two Vision Vehicles standing on stage at BMW Welt in Munich. For me, personally, this was an incredible moment. First, because both of these vehicles will be released very soon onto the market in very similar forms. Second, because they show the full potential of our NEUE KLASSE, ranging from sporty Sedan to X model. In-between, there is plenty of room for everything that will define the BMW brand in the future.

Timing is extremely important to you. That also applies to the NEUE KLASSE mega-project ...

Oliver Zipse: Timing decides whether innovations and companies succeed. We are steering our e-mobility ramp-up precisely in line with demand in the global regions. In 2025, we are releasing the NEUE KLASSE. Once we get started, the launches will come in rapid succession.
Within just 24 months, we will be bringing at least six new NEUE KLASSE models onto the roads. An unparalleled and ambitious timeline.

Customers can look forward to a host of new developments ...

Oliver Zipse: Exactly. And even independent of the drivetrain. I firmly believe that we currently have the best, most diverse range of products and drivetrains on the market. Thanks to over-the-air upgrades, every vehicle is always up to date digitally. The art lies in mastering all of this.
And we’ve been doing this already since 2018. We anticipate far in advance what our customers are going to need and want in five to ten years’ time. That is how we ensure they get the best overall package from us.

You’ve referred to the car as a digital companion ...

Oliver Zipse: We focus on what our customers want and what makes sense to integrate into the car. This also applies to automation and assistance systems, operating concepts and digital service offerings. We are already offering Level 3 automated driving in Germany in the BMW 7 Series today – which means you can temporarily direct your attention to something else while driving. The car takes care of speed, distance and lane tracking all by itself. We are also systematically digitalising our customer interfaces.
And not to forget, within the company, digitalisation is massively speeding up our processes, creating transparency, improving quality and helping us make better decisions.

Oliver Zipse

“We anticipate far in advance what our customers will want and need in five to ten years from now. That way, we ensure that they receive the best total package from us.”

Oliver Zipse Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG

The success of e-mobility depends on the technology, specifically the high-voltage batteries ...

Oliver Zipse: The battery cell is responsible for the core properties in electric vehicles: range, driving performance and charging time are just three of the key parameters. We rely on in-house expertise for both basic research and development of mass-manufacturing processes for high-voltage batteries. We laid the foundations for this with the “Battery Cell Competence Centre” in Munich and the “Cell Manufacturing Competence Centre” in Parsdorf in Bavaria – enabling us to span all value creation processes involved in cell production.

Companies are always members of society …

Oliver Zipse: As a global player, we have to be able to show that we make a positive contribution to social development. That goes far beyond our own business model and the requirements associated with it. Take our plant in Rosslyn, South Africa, which was our first plant built outside of Germany back in 1973. For over 50 years, we have been an important, highly respected employer in South Africa that is committed to serving the local community. We live this mindset at all our locations worldwide.

Interview conducted for the BMW Group Report 2023.


On 1 November 2023, Jochen Goller was appointed as the member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Customer, Brands, Sales. As underscored in the video, he ascribes enormous relevance to digitalisation when it comes to creating new and personalised customer experiences.

Walter Mertl has been the member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Finance since 12 May 2023. In the video, he talks about how digitalised processes are making the BMW Group increasingly more efficient and resilient.

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