On March 18 2021, the German automaker, BMW, unveiled its latest electric vehicle (EV) model, the BMW i4. The all-electric sedan will be made in several versions offering a driving range of approximately 300 miles. The carmaker plans to electrify more of its models, such as the MINI series and the luxurious Rolls-Royce. However, BMW will continue making internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. “If there are no customers for these vehicles in our 140 markets, we will stop producing them,” said Oliver Zipse, BMW chief.
Unlike other automakers such as Volvo, Volkswagen and General Motors, who plan to go all-electric in the ten to fifteen years, BMW will keep developing, making and selling gasoline-powered cars and plug-in hybrids. Volvo recently announced it would put an end to the production of ICEs by 2030.GM plans to stop the development and sale of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035.
Despite BMW’s indecision to not set a deadline for its ICE vehicle production, government policies will leave the carmaker with no choice. Some national and state administrations have given deadlines for the sale of non-electric vehicles. For instance, Britain government will ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel vehicles in 2030.
The US state of California has proposed bans on the sale of gas-powered vehicles, including hybrids, by 2035. Norway will ensure all its new passenger cars are battery-powered by 2025.
BMW uses a flexible approach in its production to allow for the effortless transition from ICEs to EVs. The underlying engineering plans for BMW vehicles can fit an electric, hybrid or ICE propulsion. The company decides what to produce depending on market demand. “We are much more flexible than the world thinks we are,” added Zipse.
In November last year, the motor company released the iX all-electric sports utility vehicle (SUV). Its production is scheduled for later this year. The model will be the top model for the ‘i’ series. According to BMW’s spokesman, the i4 sedan will be ready for sale in Europe by the end of 2021 or early 2022. In another press release, BMW revealed half of its sales would be battery-powered vehicles by 2030. Besides, the automaker will offer several EV models in 90% of global markets by 2023.
Some of the models to be converted to electric versions include the Mini Countryman SUV and Rolls-Royce. The Mini division will become fully electric, already producing a battery-powered Mini Cooper SE. Rolls-Royce will make some electric models without ditching the ICE powered luxury brands. “There will be an electric Rolls-Royce in this decade and probably not late in this decade,” Zipse noted.