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BMW CEO touts next-gen EVs, but wants to “keep the combustion engine alive”

When BMW launched the i3 in 2013, the company earned a place in history as an early EV innovator. Since then, the company’s interest in EVs seems to have waned—the once-cutting-edge i3 is now woefully dated, and plans for new electric models seem to be proceeding slowly.

However, CEO Oliver Zipse recently told Reuters that its next generation of EVs will reverse the automaker’s reputation as an electrification laggard. “There is a perception that we took a break, but we actually didn’t take a break,” Zipse said. “We waited for the moment when electromobility is really getting into higher volumes.”

BMW says it expects half of its sales to be fully electric models by 2030—a more conservative target than some of those announced by rivals such as Volkswagen.

The Bavarian brand has taken a different path from other automakers, building combustion engine, hybrid and electric models on shared platforms. In 2025, it plans to launch its New Class platform, which will support gas and diesel cars as well as EVs and PHEVs. Conventional wisdom is that designing EVs “from the ground up” is the superior approach.

“If you look at what’s happening in the market with these [dedicated electric] platforms, the cars all look alike,” Zipse said. “BMW serves very specific, high-paying customers. I think they don’t want cars who all look alike.”

Zipse made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to see ICE vehicles disappear any time soon. He told Reuters that the European Union should not overreach on its Euro 7 emissions proposals, which are expected to be revealed later this year. Some in the German auto industry have speculated that the new regulations could effectively ban combustion engines from 2025.

“We should do it in a reasonable way to keep the combustion engine alive,” he said.

Source: Automotive News Europe

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