Unlike Some Automakers, BMW's Keeping Its Visions of the Future in (Very) Low Earth Orbit

unlike some automakers bmws keeping its visions of the future in very low earth

A big question mark hanging over the auto industry concerns the rate of electric vehicle adoption, but BMW — unlike some of its rivals — isn’t prone to wild predictions about the public’s enthusiasm for clean, green EVs.

Despite rolling out a global plan earlier this year for 25 plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles by 2025, the automaker knows customers won’t abandon their love of inline sixes and turbo fours just because a big battery batted its eyelashes. It’s keeping diesels around, too. Those other guys, the company’s R&D chief implies, just don’t know how to make them right. And politicians are being unfair.

As for EVs, too many people have unrealistic expectations, he adds.

Speaking to Australia’s GoAuto (kudos to AutoGuide), BMW’s board member in charge of development, Klaus Fröhlich, said there’s a lot of “irrational” talk surrounding EVs. While markets like Europe and China are poised to adopt electrification in a big way, the world’s bigger than just these two regions.

“A very optimistic scenario says 30 percent of BMWs will be pure electric or plug-in hybrids and seven per cent will be combustion,” he said. “If you assume that, from this 30 per cent, half of them are plug-in hybrids – I have 85 per cent in my portfolio in 2030 with a combustion engine.”

Diesels, which may soon disappear altogether in the United States, still have a home in other markets, and they’ll stay in production as long as BMW can sell them, Fröhlich promised.

“We have, I think, more or less the best diesels. All test show that we have the lowest emissions,” he said, before taking a swipe at lawmakers in Bimmer’s home country. “We have a spiral in Europe where every politician sees only one solution – diesel bashing. From a CO2 and customer perspective, a modern diesel is a very good solution. Especially for heavy, high-performing cars.”

Diesels, which may soon disappear altogether in the United States, still have a home in other markets, and they’ll stay in production as long as BMW can sell them, Fröhlich promised.

While diesels will remain a large part of the company’s overseas offerings, the number of engine variants will decline over time. At the same time, BMW will move forward with new vehicles like the upcoming i4 (a “3 Series-class four-door coupe” due in 2021), the iX3, and others. The company’s supply of battery components is secured through 2035.

Still, promising an electrified version of every model in its range is pointless, Fröhlich said.

“I can do everything in every car, but I will not do everything in every car. Because if I do a plug-in hybrid 8 Series, it will be an effort but no one is interested.”

[Image: BMW]

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3 of 13 comments
  • Vvk Vvk on Oct 16, 2018

    That is one ugly car. How amazingly beautiful the E46 was when it came out. And now this.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Oct 16, 2018

    So for BMW there was no Sputnik moment and they pretend that Tesla does not exit?

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Oct 16, 2018

      Well said. The brand is already being outsold by Tesla in the US, so it looks cool to double down on diesel.

  • FreedMike It is kind of refreshing to see an off-roader that is focused on the basics of off-roading, versus convincing its’ owner that he’s the real-life incarnation of the Punisher, and the owner of the largest penis in human history.
  • FreedMike I’m for pretty much anything that goes fast. The more, the merrier.
  • ToolGuy 16.9 gallon fuel tank (~15 usable in the real world) combined with abysmal fuel economy means the range of your girlfriend's EV will look pretty good by comparison. 😉
  • ToolGuy Cadillac should make a list of everyone who gets excited by this announcement, and never listen to those people again.
  • Jkross22 My use case is perfect for an EV. I drive about 10 miles/day tops, have a home so I can recharge at night, love how much more efficient an EV is over its ICE counterpart and love the instant torque, quietness, lack of moving parts/reliability/cost of maintenance. I'm the poster child for EV ownership.But I don't have one and don't see buying one anytime soon. As intriguing as they are, there is no way in Haiti I'm dropping 50 large minimum to buy one. Not gonna happen. The Bolt looks like a toe, I really don't like Tesla interiors, I love the Lucid and Polestar 2, the H/K electrics are interesting but look at the price of all of these.