JLR and BMW partner in electric future

BMW Group and Jaguar Land Rover confirmed they are joining forces to develop next generation Electric Drive Units (EDUs) in a move that will support the advancement of electrification technologies, a central part of the automotive industry’s transition to an ACES (Autonomous, Connected, Electric, Shared) future.

The strategic collaboration will build on the considerable knowledge and expertise in electrification at both companies. Jaguar Land Rover has demonstrated its technical capability in bringing the world’s first premium battery electric SUV to market – the 2019 World Car of the Year, the Jaguar I-Pace, as well as plug-in hybrid models. The BMW Group brings vast experience of developing and producing several generations of electric drive units in-house since it launched the BMW i3 in 2013.

The agreement will enable both companies to take advantage of efficiencies arising from shared research and development and production planning as well as economies of scale from joint procurement across the supply chain.

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‘Mutually beneficial’

Nick Rogers, Jaguar Land Rover engineering director, said: “The transition to ACES represents the greatest technological shift in the automotive industry in a generation. The pace of change and consumer interest in electrified vehicles is gathering real momentum and it’s essential we work across industry to advance the technologies required to deliver this exciting future.

“We’ve proven we can build world beating electric cars but now we need to scale the technology to support the next generation of Jaguar and Land Rover products. It was clear from discussions with BMW Group that both companies’ requirements for next generation EDUs to support this transition have significant overlap making for a mutually beneficial collaboration.”

A team of Jaguar Land Rover and BMW Group experts will engineer the EDUs with both partners developing the systems to deliver the specific characteristics required for their respective range of products. The EDUs will be manufactured by each partner in their own production facilities.

For Jaguar Land Rover this will be at its Wolverhampton-based Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC), which was confirmed as the home for the company’s global EDU production in January of this year. The plant, which employs 1600 people, will be the centre of propulsion system manufacturing offering full flexibility between clean Ingenium petrol and diesel engines and electric units. The EMC will be complemented by the recently announced Battery Assembly Centre at Hams Hall, near Birmingham, in supplying electrified powertrain systems to Jaguar Land Rover’s global vehicle plants.

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Collaboration is key

Klaus Fröhlich, member of the board of management of BMW AG, Development, said: “The automotive industry is undergoing a steep transformation. We see collaboration as a key for success, also in the field of electrification. With Jaguar Land Rover, we found a partner whose requirements for the future generation of electric drive units significantly match ours.

“Together, we have the opportunity to cater more effectively for customer needs by shortening development time and bringing vehicles and state-of-the-art technologies more rapidly to market.”

The BMW Group’s most sophisticated electrified technology to date features an electric motor, transmission and power electronics in one housing. This electric motor does not require rare earths, enabling the BMW Group to reduce its dependence on their availability as it continues to systematically broaden its range of electrified models.

Starting next year, the BMW Group will introduce this electric drive unit, the fifth generation (“Gen 5”) of its eDrive technology, with the BMW iX3 Sports Activity Vehicle. The Gen 5 electric drive unit will be the propulsion system upon which subsequent evolutions launched together with Jaguar Land Rover will be based.

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