The head of development at the BMW Group says customers in Europe have no interest in buying electric vehicles, adding the discussion around range is “complete bullsh*t”.
Klaus Frölich, BMW's board member responsible for development, “shocked” journalists with the comments during a roundtable in Munich, according to motoring.com.au.
“There is no customer requests for BEVs [battery electric vehicles]. There are regulator requests for BEVs,” Frölich reportedly said.
The Australian publication said Frölich was responding to a tweet from the head of Europe’s transport and environment lobby group accusing automakers of “suppressing choice and availability of electric models” to increase sales of “polluting yet very profitable SUVs”.
Frölich responded by saying “if we have a big offer, a big incentive, we could flood Europe and sell a million cars, but Europeans won’t buy these things”.
“What they [the transport and environment lobby group] ignore is that the European customer is not prepared to take the risk on an EV because the infrastructure is not there [and] resale is not known.
“Customers in Europe do not buy EVs. We pressed these cars into the market and they’re not wanted. We can deliver an electrified vehicle to each person but they will not buy them,” he insisted, before suggesting plug-in hybrids were a better option for that continent. He also pointed out demand for electric vehicles was higher in markets such as China and the United States.
Frölich went on to explain “you have to pay for range; this is what people don’t seem to understand”.
“You have a 180d and an M4 and the price difference is the performance. With an EV, the price difference will be performance and range. The difference between 350 km and 600 km of EV range will be €10 000. You put them both out there and see how many people will buy the 600 km car.
“All this range discussion is complete bullsh*t because it’s an economic proposition of how much you can afford,” he added.