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BMW speeds up rollout of electric cars

BMW declined however to follow General Motors and other automakers in saying it would completely phase out internal combustion cars by a specific date.

March 17, 2021  by Associated Press

On Mar. 17, German automaker BMW said that it intends to speed the rollout of new electric cars, vowing to bring battery-powered models to 50% of global sales by 2030. The company underlined the point by unveiling a new all-electric model three months ahead of plan.

BMW declined however to follow General Motors and other automakers in saying it would completely phase out internal combustion cars by a specific date. Instead, the Munich-based carmaker said it would adjust production among battery, hybrid and efficient internal combustion engines as different parts of the world adopt cars that produce zero emissions at different speeds.

CEO Oliver Zipse said during the company’s annual news conference that electrification was proceeding at a “higher speed.” He said BMW would sell its millionth electrified vehicle this year and sell another million by 2025.

Zipse said the company was working on a new, all-electric framework for its range of electric cars coming from 2025. Zipse also cautioned that the speed of adoption would “depend on the availability of charging infrastructure,” and he called for faster progress in rolling out places to charge in Europe.

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While government regulation is forcing automakers to sell more electrics in the European Union and in China, the adoption has been slower in the United States. BMW expects parts of the U.S. to continue favouring larger internal combustion vehicles for some time.

The European Union is requiring automakers to meet lower limits on average emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas blamed by scientists for global warming. The new lower limit of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre took effect at the start of the year.

Since battery-only cars are rated at zero emissions, automakers have turned to them to bring down their fleet averages. That led to a surge in electric sales at the end of 2020; in December, nearly one in four cars sold in Europe was either battery only or a plug-in hybrid. Hybrids combine internal combustion engines with battery propulsion.

BMW also held out the possibility of building cars using hydrogen fuel cells instead of batteries.

BMW also indicated it was not going to follow competitor Volkswagen in building a network of battery factories but instead intends to work closely with partners to supply the batteries it needs.


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