With all the ‘movers and shakers’ of the film world at the 2013 Berlinale, the BMW brand was very much in evidence, on the streets, on the ‘red carpet’ and all over town at various parties, press conferences and award ceremonies. As one of the event’s official partners, having your vehicles seen in the right places makes good business sense, especially when many of them are built in Berlin and have the city’s air in their tyres. In an exclusive interview, Head of BMW Berlin Hans-Reiner Schröder reveals his passion for the brand, its latest products and the enjoyment of a hugely popular international film festival in his home town.
How would you sum up the 63rd International Film Festival in Berlin from BMW’s perspective so far?
I think it has been an amazing festival, as many of our products have been the centre of attention much of the time. The arrival of Hannes Jaenicke with his colleague Sophie Adell by e-scooter on the red carpet was simply terrific. The new scooter totally occupied the centre stage, and it was surrounded by hundreds of photographers taking pictures of it from all sides. I have also heard great impressions from many people who thought it looked really cool and were very interested in testing it as well.
The brand is very active in pursuing electromobility, especially in the urban environment. Do you drive an electric car yourself?
We had a test period with MINI here in the city and this was simply amazing. I can remember when I was a boy when we had a Carrera sports car. Every time you stepped on the gas, the acceleration was instant, and this is exactly the feeling you get with an electric-powered vehicle in the city – yet they are silent and emission-free. It really is an amazing feeling to drive one.
Do you also ride a motorcycle?
Yes, I do ride a motorcycle and I am very much looking forwards to the arrival of the BMW C evolution which will be built right here in Berlin.
Do you think that the lack of noise from e-scooters will help improve communication between rider and passenger, as they won’t have to tolerate all the noise anymore?
Well, it is not so much about noise, I think it is more about people getting used to the fact that these vehicles are now almost silent. This also means that they are receiving a different kind of attention from the public.
The new e-scooter has a range of up to 100 kilometres but what do you think about further development? Do you think a significantly increased range will be possible in the foreseeable future?
It’s not an issue, in my opinion. As part of the development, it was calculated how many kilometres a person was likely to ride in and out of the city per day. And it’s generally a lot less than the available capacity of a machine like the BMW C evolution. Of course, the battery could also be charged during the day, but in my opinion, the range is already more than sufficient for nearly all urban journeys.
And what about longer journeys?
Well, I personally think that electro mobility development in terms of e-scooters applies largely to the city, but of course capacities and range will increase with further advances in technology. But for people driving between cities like, for example, Munich and Berlin we would recommend our diesel-powered or CO2 emission-reduced vehicles.
BMW has its finger on the pulse with its alternative energy vehicles. By developing serial production solutions to meet the mobility needs of today and tomorrow, the brand has become a significant player in the industry, and arguably one of the first corporations to do this. Does this make you proud?
I am very proud to work with a chairman who was able to consider alternative energies so far in advance. Obviously, coming from a motorsports background means that I am used to working with vehicles that have a lot of power, so to be able to develop appropriate mobility solutions that incorporate alternative energy technology – and become market leaders in this arena – makes me particularly proud of working for BMW.
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