BMW North America CEO: EVs “won’t work for most people”

BMW’s North American President and CEO Jim O’Donnell said that EVs “won’t work for most people” during an interview with The Detroit News, despite BMW’s recent commitment to the electric vehicle market.

O’Donnell was discussing the upcoming BMW 1 Series ActiveE electric car, 700 of which will be available for a 2-year lease in the US, and 400 available in other markets around the world. The upcoming i3 electric car and i8 electric supercar were also discussed. So with such a portfolio of EVs on the way, the CEO’s statement is certainly a bold one.

“For at least 90 percent and maybe more of the population, [an EV] won’t work [at the current battery range],” says O’Donnell. The CEO also thinks that Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn’s prediction that 10 percent of all cars will be electric by 2020 is too optimistic. Moreover, he believes the US government should not be providing the $7,500 tax credits for EVs. “I believe in a free economy. I think we should abolish all tax credits. What they are doing is putting a bet on technology, which is not appropriate. As a taxpayer, I am not sure this is the right way to go.”

However, O’Donnell does note that his opinion on tax credits is just that, a personal opinion. BMW will still accept these tax credits, but the CEO would like a “level playing field” for all technologies. O’Donnell is much more confident in diesel technology, but says that diesel is “slightly disadvantaged” by EV tax credits. Despite the disadvantage, he believes that diesels will play a bigger role in boosting BMW’s US market share than EVs.

Source: The Detroit News

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