While the European car industry is showing a strong amount of dedication to the transition of electrified vehicle production, BMW has come out to say that it retains its commitment to the internal combustion engine. It notes the importance of electrification but highlights the concerns with regards to the rapid change-over.
Speaking to Automotive News Europe, Development chief, Frank Weber insists that the ICE at BMW will remain for quite some time.
“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? It’s about charging infrastructure, renewable energy. Are people ready? Is the system ready? Is the charging infrastructure ready? All of that.
“It has also to do with the fact that I have people working for me on combustion engines and I’m shifting them over time into electric. 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.
“You still need to invest to ensure that internal combustion engines comply with the newest emissions regulations,”
A big topic of discussion for BMW is the longevity of its V12 and V8 powertrains used in flagship models. Weber confirms “Regarding the Eurozone, Euro 7 is currently under discussion, and it is a discussion that is very difficult for us, not because of stringent emission values such as for NOX or CO2. This is not the critical point. We all have an interest that this Euro 7 regulation gets the best out of combustion engines.
“The problem is with the proposal from the European Commission. The Commission has said the emissions requirements should be met under all circumstances. This means you can test compliance with a trailer, at minus 20 degrees centigrade going up the hill at 3 000 meters high. We as manufacturers have said this will not work. It would be like banning the combustion engine.
“It’s very important also that we communicate clearly with the Commission that we are fine with stringent regulations but in a way that allows us to sign off on the vehicle as an OEM. We hope to finish this dialogue by the end of the year. This is a concern because it’s the last big investment in combustion engines.
“Then we will have an investment that takes us to the end of the decade, and nobody has to decide today whether they have an exit strategy for combustion engines for 2030. 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.”