Time to acknowledge reality.
The speed automakers are racing towards all-electric futures is extraordinary. We never would have imagined this happening, say, five years ago. And yet major OEMs like General Motors have committed themselves to ditching combustion engines in favor of electrification. GM, for example, aims to make this happen by 2035, though this could change. It might have to because many governments, especially in Europe, are anxious to ban sales of new combustion-engine vehicles as soon as possible. Automakers must be ready for this scenario.
Reuters reports BMW CEO Oliver Zipse told a German audience last week that his company will be ready for any ban on fossil fuel-burning vehicles no later than 2030. “We will be ICE-ban ready. If a region, a city, a country gets the idea of banning ICEs, we have an offering,” he said. “The BMW Group is not worried about this. Whether it's a good idea is another question… but we will have an offering.”
Zipse did not provide any specific details beyond this, but BMW is moving fast to add EVs to its lineup. The new BMW i4 and iX will soon join the aging i3 on dealership lots. The i4, however, is still based on the same CLAR platform that underpins the company’s rear-wheel-drive sedan lineup. The 3, 5, and 7 Series all utilize this architecture though it was heavily updated for the i4. BMW won’t launch its fully dedicated EV platform until 2025.
What BMW has not done, unlike GM and fellow German rival Volkswagen, is set a firm date as to when it’ll permanently retire combustion-powered vehicles. That’s probably the smart decision because things have a tendency to change in this industry.
It’s best to be flexible on a specific EV-only date while still sharing the same goal with rivals. BMW does expect at least 50 percent of its global lineup to be electrified by 2030. This will include vehicles coming from its famed M high-performance division. Zipse’s statements are important because he’s making it clear to investors, governments, and customers that BMW is embracing electrification. It knows what it has to do in order to comply with upcoming emissions requirements.
Longtime fans, especially those still unsure about EVs, probably aren’t too thrilled right about now. They have no choice but to learn to live with change. Not all change is bad.