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