BMW may be one of the front-runners when it comes to making electric cars and engines but looks like it’s not ready to cast aside traditional petrol and diesel engines any time soon. In an interview at the German automotive company’s NextGen event in Munich, BMW board member and chief of engineering Klaus Froelich shared some insight into the future of electrification on the road.
According to Mr. Froelich, fans of petrol and diesel engines can breathe easy since they won’t be getting completely replaced by plug-in hybrid or battery-powered vehicles for a long, long time. “A best assumption of 30 percent of electrified sales (battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids) by 2025 means that at least 80 percent of our vehicles will have an internal combustion engine,” says Mr. Froelich. BMW expects these engines to survive for a few decades before they can be replaced. More specifically, he says that diesel engines should last at least 20 years and petrol engines a healthy 30 years. The primary cause of this is that most parts of the world still don’t have any infrastructure for sustaining electric vehicles such as EV charging stations, while gas stations are literally everywhere. “We see areas without a recharging infrastructure such as Russia, the Middle East and the western, internal part of China so they will rely on gasoline engines for another 10 to 15 years,” Froelich said.
Sharing some more insight, Froelich said that he expects some parts of the world such as Chinese cities, parts of Europe and the coastal areas of the US to adopt electric vehicles in a shorter time period of about 10-15 years. Despite that, he goes on to say that the shift towards electrification is over-hyped. “Battery-electric vehicles cost more in terms of raw materials for batteries. This will continue and could eventually worsen as demand for these raw materials increases.”
Commenting on their own plans, the BMW exec said that while internal combustion engines still form a huge part of their future endeavors, their portfolio could shrink significantly. The situation is direr on the diesel front, where increasingly tougher emission standards are making it hard for the diesel engines return decent profits for the company, particularly the smaller 1.5-liter three-cylinder units. It’s opposite on the gasoline side, with the larger V-12 units in deeper waters.
So do you agree with BMW regarding the future of our roads? Let us know in the comments!