Like CES, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona also now attracts its fair share of car makers. Ford was an early adopter a few years ago, and now others are joining the fray, too. I sat down with Dieter May, BMW’s senior vice president of Digital Services and Business Models (in an i3, of course).
The idea that car ownership is bound to die is not a new one.
The theory goes that as more people move into crowded cities, fewer will see owning a car as a necessity. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft have given some traction to that idea, as millennials increasingly prefer to whip out an app when they need a ride rather that commit to the expenses associated with owning a car.
There's already evidence of that trend. For example, a University of Michigan study published in January found the percentage of young people with a driver's license to be in decline.
BMW isn’t letting off the gas on its electric vehicle program – the company plans replacements for the i3 and i8 by 2022, according to Automobile Magazine, and a new entrant dubbed Project i20 internally (but likely to be known as the i5 or i6 when it hits streets) on track for 2021. The i20 has a fully electric drivetrain, like the i3 before it, and will also offer BMW’s most sophisticated autonomous driving features to date.