As BMW was announcing an acceleration of its electrification plans, a senior BMW executive told an audience that there’s no demand for all-electric cars.
He is wrong.
Earlier this week, BMW announced that it is accelerating its electric car plans by 2 years and it unveiled some new EV concepts.
Just as the German automaker was making the announcement, BMW’s director of development, Klaus Frölich told in a round-table interview in Munich that they don’t see demand for all-electric vehicles (via Forbes):
“There are no customer requests for BEVs. None. There are regulator requests for BEVs, but no customer requests.”
The executive argues that regulations push electric vehicle adoption – not consumer demand.
“If we have a big offer, a big incentive, we could flood Europe and sell a million (BEV) cars but Europeans won’t buy these things. From what we see, BEVs are for China and California and everywhere else is better off with PHEVs with good EV range.”
In most markets, BEV sales are rising and they are actually mostly affecting PHEV sales, which are plateauing or falling in several markets.
Oh boy. It always shocks me to see some top executives at major automakers having such a lack of vision.
There’s no demand for electric cars. Really?
No. There’s no demand for uncompelling electric cars. That’s not the same thing.
First off, plugin hybrids are a compromise. It’s not ideal to have an internal combustion engine, an electric motor, and a battery pack inside a vehicle.
An all-electric powertrain is much more simple and efficient. It’s also inevitable long term since we will eventually run out of gas so why not move to a zero-emission powertrain sooner.
However, they serve as a good intermediary step for some consumers who are hesitant about all-electric cars.
That brings us to his consumer demand point.
Yes, it’s true that EV demand is slow in some markets, but I’d argue that the main reason for that is the lack of compelling all-electric options from the automakers, like BMW, themselves.
If they were to have an extensive line-up of compelling all-electric vehicles at decent prices across all segments, it will create the demand, which will come either way when competitors bring those options to market.
One of them will have to come first and if it’s not EVs from BMW, someone else will fill the space and take the market shares.
Example: Tesla’s Model 3 is eating BMW’s lunch in many important markets.
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