It seems like every other week, another major carmaker announces their plans to discontinue the internal combustion engine and switchover to an EV-only model line-up – usually sometime around 2030 to line-up with the major countries’ own timeline to ban sales of new ICE models.
BMW, though, aren’t quite ready to make the switch just yet – at least not immediately. Speaking to Automotive News Europe at the recent Munich motor show, BMW development chief Frank Weber said that they’re still committed to ICE, and explained why moving to EVs isn’t as easy as just flicking a switch.
“For electric mobility, the question is not when the combustion engine is ending. The question is: when is the system ready to absorb all those battery-electric vehicles?” said Weber. “It’s about charging infrastructure, renewable energy. Are people ready? Is the system ready? Is the charging infrastructure ready? All of that.”
And then, there’s the issue with their workforce – a large chunk of its employees are still currently working on the internal combustion engines. And although the staff are being gradually shifted towards EVs, it’ll still require a significant amount of time for the staff to be properly trained.
“It makes no sense to make the transition overnight. I have to make sure that this transition works perfectly – for both social reasons and economic reasons. These are real big questions. The last thing we want is that customers have to buy electric cars and there is no adequate charging infrastructure. That is in nobody’s interest.”
On the topic of emissions regulations, Weber said that complying with the forthcoming Euro 7 regulations will be the “last big investment in combustion engines” – which they expect to take them to the end of the decade. With nine years to go, Weber says that there’s no need to decide on a firm exit strategy for the time being.
So just like what Weber’s colleague, BMW i4 product boss David Ferrufino said to the press earlier this month, the solution to all EV problems is to get adequate charging infrastructure available everywhere. Hopefully the nine years will be enough for them to sort it out, then.