This is what’s wrong with the German car industry

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Almost 6 months after Tesla received more than 300’000 (refundable) pre-orders for an affordable and exiting all-electric vehicle with a promised range of 350 km, BMW’s senior management decided they had to skip a trade show to finally settle the question on wether or not to continue to invest in electric cars. Why does this question arise? Because apparently, their decisively ugly and technologically mediocre1 i3 didn’t sell very well. Reuters broke the news:

BMW’s management board is skipping the Paris Motor Show to hold talks aimed at breaking a deadlock over whether to produce new electric cars, including a battery-powered Mini, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.


Executives across the industry predict electric cars will increasingly gain mainstream acceptance among customers thanks to advances that make batteries get cheaper and more powerful and the VW emissions scandal, which has sparked a regulatory backlash against diesel-engine vehicles.

But BMW has been torn about whether to accelerate development of new electric cars, given its expensive early investments into the area which resulted in only lackluster sales of its i3, which saw only 25,000 deliveries last year.

While VW is understandably and deservedly suffering a lot for their dieselgate cheating, it seems that they finally understood the problem and will push EVs. Meanwhile, BMW believes that we will continue to use cars running on fossil fuels forever.

What’s your plan BMW? EVs will not take over the world tomorrow, but do you truly think they will still be (close to) irrelevant in 2025? 2050? By the end of the century? German luxury carmakers used to be way of the curve2 – the fact that I cannot name a single German thoroughbred EV that I’d buy right away (if money wasn’t an issue) is chastening.

  1. Original model had a range of 190km on the standardized New European Driving Cycle, now they also have a model that makes it to 300km – although real world performance seems to be worse as per BWM website
  2. and maybe they still are in some increasingly irrelevant fields

How should VW make up for the environmental damage caused by its cheating?

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Option 1 – Fines: Penalties and sanctions may hurt the company and they have the potential to avoid more cheating in the future, but they won’t be able to compensate for the damage already done. Even their suitability to discourage future misbehavior can be doubted. Not only because they put pressure on the company to somehow still deliver the results its shareholders expect, but also because fining an employer often means relieving employees from individual accountability and liability. 1

Option 2 – Recalling and fixing every affected car: Like penalties, this option inflicts financial damage on VW while doing little to make up for the damage already done. Each recalled car would marginally reduce the total future negative environmental impact but would at the same time externalize the cost of VW’s malpractice to the owners of the troubled cars. That’s also the reason why it’s really unlike to get a significant number of cars outfitted with any fix.

Option 3 – Burden VW with an environmental liability. And offer a way to pay actually pay it off: Weiterlesen »

  1. Whether or not individuals should be liable for actions taken in their roles as employees shall not be discussed in this article. Currently very few employees face criminal or civil charges due to non-compliance in their job, especially in high-profile cases.

Transportmittel in Dubai

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Nachdem ich jetzt einige Wochen in Dubai verbracht habe, kann ich sagen, dass Autofahren hier noch viel nerviger ist als zu Hause. In der Nähe meiner Wohnung sind Parkplätze knapp, am Arbeitsplatz sind Parkplätze knapp und immer wenn ich mich ins Auto setze, wollen auch gerade alle anderen irgendwo hin. Nach einer kurzen Testphase habe ich mich also entschlossen, meinen Mietwagen demnächst wieder abzugeben und zukünftig auf Metro, Bus und Taxi zu setzen. Doch auch das ist nicht so einfacht.

The Key to Driving Gen Y

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Jacqueline Barba in Think With Google:

Gen Ys are a tough crowd for automakers. According to reports, they aren’t all that interested in buying or owning cars. They don’t even really like cars, and they’re not so keen on driving, either. To put this in perspective, the list of things that Gen Ys like better than cars includes the internet, iPhones, tablet’s, and – according to one study published by Auto News – visiting the dentist.

That’s exactly how I feel about cars – maybe apart from the dentist thing. For me, using public transport and car pooling is usually cheaper and easier than owning and maintaining a private car. Another article covering the topic by Hasan Dudar & Jeff Green on Bloomberg tries to give an explanation:

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