BMW’s U.S. CEO: Federal Government Should Abolish EV Tax Credits

Like many of the world’s top automakers, BMW is seemingly breaking its legs to scramble on the electric vehicle bandwagon, and is pushing hard to bring its all-electric i3 city car and i8 performance hybrid to market by 2013. But there’s one BMW exec, U.S. chairman and CEO Jim O’Donnell, who hasn’t exactly been drinking the electrified kool-aid.

Speaking at an event just prior to last week’s 2011 New York auto show, O’Donnell admitted he’s “far more optimistic” about clean diesel vehicles boosting the automaker’s U.S. market share than EVs.

“(EVs) won’t work for most people,” O’Donnell remarked at the event. “For at least 90 percent and maybe more of the population, (an EV) won’t work (at the current battery range).” O’Donnell went on to say that the U.S. government should abolish its $7500 tax credit for electric vehicles.

“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,” said O’Donnell, who was quick to point out that the views are his own and not the official stance from Munich.

For now, the exec says BMW will still take advantage of the tax credits, but wants a “level playing field” for clean diesel vehicles, which he believes are “slightly disadvantaged” by the present tax policy.

The first phase in BMW’s electric car program is due to start later this year in the form of the ActiveE, an electrified BMW 1 Series that will begin leasing in the fall in select markets for $499 a month.

Source: Detroit News