One of the criticisms of the Chevy Volt is that people don't want to buy a $40,000 car with a Chevy badge on it. In that sense, maybe these vehicles have an advantage. Yes, the prices will be high, but they will have a BMW badge.
You do have to wonder about the rational for these upscale hybrid and EV models. Could be they are showcase vehicles designed to enhance the brand -- both as cool styling and for green-wash PR? Or maybe there is a sizable enough portion of the market that will buy these showcase cars and make them profitable.
As Chuck has previously written, we have yet to see consumer willingness to buy come anywhere near vendors' rush to field alt.energy vehicles. (I'm speaking more of EVs than hybrids, but even for the latter the point obtains, though to a lesser extent.) Now, if car manufacturers offered a battery replacement insurance policy, it might be a different story. But then of course they would end up losing money on every EV.
These prototypes really seem to push the envelope in terms of space-age design, especially that flapping door design. Not sure how practical that is in a city parking lot, but we'll see.
I'll be really interested in see how these models look and are received once finally introduced. in many ways BMW is like Apple--if any one can pull off the design look and the seamless integration of all the systems, plus keep the performance, they can. Problem is and will always be affordability. These are not vehicles for the mainstream public.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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