Revving to a Different Beat
It seems that BMW is taking a more pragmatic approach to the upcoming market shift from ICE to EV. Mercedes Benz announced that they want to go all-electric by 2030, whereas Audi is planning on only launching EVs by 2026.
In theory, this shift to all-electric should be driven solely by market demand, but BMW thinks the internal combustion engine has a bit more gas left in the tank.
BMW’s development chief Frank Weber was interviewed by Automotive News Europe and stated the transition to EVs won’t happen overnight. He also brought up some excellent questions such as “Are people ready? Is the charging infrastructure ready?” Which are necessary inquisitions.
The great thing about free markets is that the consumer drives business decisions, or at least, they are supposed to. Sure, companies innovate, but they innovate based on what consumer demand is or is projected to be. It seems BMW is not convinced their German automaker counterparts have the right idea. Or at the very least, they only have a part of the right idea.
Give the People What They Want
New Euro 7 regulations, which further restrict emissions, require more R&D to comply, and BMW has invested significant funds doing just that. This could play into their concern, as no one wants to waste money developing products that people won’t buy, but Weber doesn’t like the idea of removing internal combustion engines from the market and effectively forcing consumers to buy EVs.
That is a position I can respect, as demand should drive supply, not the other way around.
What should consumers do then? They should buy what they want to buy. I might not like that everyone wants SUVs and thus there are a million SUV options, but that’s what the market wants. If EVs are compelling, and I think they are, then the market will demand them. But removing internal combustion vehicles completely, whether it’s because of regulations or poor market analysis, before consumers are ready to give them up doesn’t seem like a good idea.