At the same time BMW announced to local media that its i3 and i8 electric hybrid vehicles will go on sale in South Africa from March 2015. I had the opportunity to gawk at and sit in the i8 at the conference and have to admit that it will really be one of the most unique vehicles available in SA when it arrives.
Back to the new ConnectedDrive which sees all BMW models produced after July this year, fitted with a built-in SIM card as standard. The purpose of this SIM is to allow access to the new infotainment features BMW has produced. The BMW ConnectedDrive Services will cost you R4 500 for three years and is standard on the BMW 5, 6 and 7 Series as well as the BMW X5 and X6.
One of the standard features provided is the Intelligent Emergency Call system which provides emergency services with precise vehicle location, and detection of accident severity offers more extensive functionality. There’s also the BMW TeleServices which monitors the vehicle’s service data from fluid levels to brake pads. If the need for service is identified, the car’s data is transferred directly to BMW.
Then, there are the BMW Online and BMW Apps-ready applications which are compatible with iOS and Android. Some of these include Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI) giving up-to-date information about where traffic is and how to avoid traffic jams. Pricing for the RTTI option is R1 900 for three years and standard with the BMW 6 and 7 Series.
Internet usage and data transfer is also an optional extra at R1 300 for one year’s service which is standard with the BMW 6 and 7 Series.Users can also use their phones to activate functions in the car remotely via the Remote Services. Pricing for the BMW Remote Services will be R650 and will be offered as standard with the BMW 6 and 7 Series.
There’s also a Concierge Service which can send a requested point of interest directly into the navigation system. The pricing for the Concierge Services will be R3 200 for three years and standard with the BMW 6 and 7 Series.
The ConnectedDrive services will become more handy when used with emobility and will form part of the standard specification on the BMW i models. As from July, 2015 the ConnectedDrive Store can be accessed from the vehicle or from a home PC. Applications such as the BMW Connected app for smartphones - which includes functions such as web radio, Wiki Local, Facebook and calendar - will be available at the store.
It’s important to note that the services provided by BMW work in a similar way to a service/maintenance plan. This means, once they’ve been purchased - as an option or as part of standard equipment - the infotainment functions last for a limited period; for example, three years or even one month after date of purchase.
The objective of this connectivity is to have five million BMW cars linked up worldwide via ConnectedDrive with the help of the built-in SIM card, by the year 2017.
BMW also mentioned another benefit of being constantly connected. Much like a phone, there’ll be updates available, meaning, your vehicle may be a few years old in the future, but will still have access to the latest technology.