By Joseph White
NEW YORK (Reuters) - German luxury vehicle maker BMW AG
BMW management board member Klaus Froehlich said automakers and large suppliers are beginning to discuss how to agree on one standard for autonomous-vehicle systems. Froehlich has said in the past automakers and suppliers should agree on a single standard.
"Everybody has an interest or should have an interest" in common autonomous-vehicle standards, Froehlich said earlier this week during an event to show off a futuristic, electric and autonomous sport utility vehicle.
Froehlich made his comments before a report in Automotive News on Friday that Volkswagen AG
On batteries, Froehlich said, BMW is pursuing a strategy aimed at securing lower-cost batteries than rivals, in part by controlling the supply of raw materials for its battery-making partners.
"We will have agreements with mining companies," Froehlich said. "We have one agreement. There will be more." A key issue, he said, is securing cobalt from mines that do not exploit workers or employ children.
BMW rode a wave of electric vehicle marketing this month by European luxury brands. The German automakers and rivals, including Tata Motors Ltd's
BMW has previously disclosed agreements with Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd <300750.SZ> (CATL) and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS>. However, Froehlich said those companies will supply batteries using a proprietary BMW design.
"In electromobility, you have to be a cost leader," he said. "If you are not a cost leader you will not survive."
BMW on Saturday showed off the electric, autonomous "Vision iNext" SUV in Beijing as part of a publicity tour in which the prototype car and a stage have travelled around the world in the hold of a Lufthansa
On Monday, Volkswagen's Audi brand plans a splashy launch for its e-Tron sport utility, the same day Tesla Inc
(Reporting by Joseph White in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)