So the Ultimate Driving Machine might soon become the Ultimate Machine Driver. We get it, that’s the way things are moving. For its part, BMW still plans to involve a driver in its next-century designs, as foretold by the Vision Next 100 concept it unveiled at its centenary celebration kickoff event.
But what gets us is that BMW, Bayerische Motoren Werke, the company known for delivering some of the most sorted powertrains – gasoline and otherwise – over the last century makes no mention of the future of propulsion when presenting its idea of the next 100 years on the road. Maybe it’s the fact we just don’t know what will power our cars even 10 years down the line; locking into one concept or another could look bad in hindsight. But the whole, er, concept of a concept is to look at what might be possible, not avoid sticky issues. Where are the in-hub motors, the wireless charging mats, the onboard fusion reactors we were promised in Back to the Future Part II? This is is an opportunity to offer innovative solutions. Skipping over the power was a mistake, and one that makes me a little disappointed in the company.
I’d have liked to see BMW go big with a bold prediction, or even just admit that gas will be gone and some form of electrification will take its place by 2116. We’re okay with electric motors as long as they don’t drain the life out of cars, and they don’t have to, which is something companies like Tesla and even BMW have proven. Here’s hoping one of BMW’s other centenary concepts will pick up where the Vision Next 100 fell short.