At least according to one current top executive.
Change is rapidly taking place in the auto industry. Not even a decade ago diesel-engined vehicles were still viewed as one answer to lowering C02 emissions, and traditional sedans still sold in high numbers. It's amazing how much has changed. Given all of the recent and ongoing advancements in battery and autonomous technologies, take a moment and imagine the world in 2028. Will we still be driving cars with our hands? Will they all be battery-electric? Will internal combustion be a permanent thing of the past? For BMW, internal combustion technology isn't going anywhere just yet.
Speaking with Go Auto, BMW's R&D boss Klaus Froehlich was, on the one hand, optimistic that global markets will soon be adopting electric vehicles, but also fairly certain there's still a place for diesel engines. However, chances are there will be fewer of them due to less demand. "Yes, four and six cylinders will remain in the market. And I will have at least four power derivatives on the diesels," he said. "But I think the high-end diesels, for example M50d, it is a challenge to do anyway. It is a challenge to comply to future emissions and the market is small." Remember, BMW is done with diesel in the US, but oil burners will remain on sale in other markets.
As for the percentage of electric, plug-in hybrids and straight up internal combustion, Froehlich had this to say about BMW in 12 years' time: "A very optimistic scenario says 30 percent of BMWs will be pure electric or plug-in hybrids and seven percent will be combustion. 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." Whatever may or may not happen, Froehlich confirmed BMW will be ready to meet electric mobility needs.
"We already purchased… cobalt and lithium from 2025-35. We already have the second life in place for consumers or for grid stabilization, we have built these battery farms. We are prepared to deliver." But which countries, at least according to BMW, are likely to be the last to fully adopt electric vehicles and stick with internal combustion for the foreseeable future? The German automaker believes Russia and Australia, in particular, will be filling up at gas stations for years to come.