After Dieselgate, Volkswagen Group has shifted its focus away from diesels toward electric vehicles. Porsche went so far as to drop diesels across its entire global lineup, citing low demand. But rival BMW doesn’t paint such a grim picture for diesels or internal combustion engines in general. Speaking with Australian outlet Go Auto, BMW’s research and development boss estimates that 85 percent of the brand’s vehicles will still have an internal combustion engine by 2030.
“We have a spiral in Europe where every politician sees only one solution—diesel bashing,” BMW AG board member for development Klaus Fröhlich told Go Auto. “From a CO2 and customer perspective, a modern diesel is a very good solution. Especially for heavy, high-performing cars.”
Cities around the world—from Paris to London and Berlin—are placing bans on diesel cars. Still, Fröhlich said he was “very optimistic” about the future of diesels, and the board member even cast doubt on the notion that all markets would abandon internal combustion and adopt electric vehicles at the same time.
Even in a best-case scenario, he foresees pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids making up 30 percent of BMW’s global lineup in the next 12 years. “If you assume that, from this 30 percent, half of them are plug-in hybrids—I have 85 percent in my portfolio in 2030 with a combustion engine,” he said.
While that projection seems to be in stark contrast to the EV plans of automakers like VW Group, Ford, GM, and others, BMW has said previously that it hopes to have 25 electrified vehicles, including 12 EVs, in its lineup by 2025. Some upcoming electric models include an i4 four-door coupe that’s based on the iVision Dynamics concept and is due in 2021.
Also coming that year is the iNext, a highly autonomous vehicle with an estimated all-electric range of 435 miles. Arriving a bit sooner will be the iX3 crossover in 2020, which will likely share underpinnings with the current X3 but feature a next-gen electric powertrain. Almost all other future vehicles (including i4 and iNext) will be based on a next-gen platform that can support internal combustion, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric drivetrains.