Despite having recently revealed a vision for a more sustainable future of hybrid electric cars with their 'Vision M Next' concept, BMW say they will continue to invest heavily in internal combustion engines for the near future.
The car manufacturer will follow market trends as part of a strategy that sees them phase out diesel engines over the next 20 years, and petrol engines over the next 30.
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A lack of charging infrastructures
The structure and demand, BMW say, isn't in place to be able to be able to dramatically shift the market towards hybrids and 100% electric vehicles.
“We see areas without a recharging infrastructure such as Russia, the Middle East and the western, internal part of China so they will rely on gasoline engines for another 10 to 15 years,” Klaus Froelich, BMW Group board member for development, told Automotive News Europe at the company's NextGen event in Munich this week.
Sales forecasts point to increased electric sales, but there is still a long way to go before EVs start making up the majority of traffic on our roads:
“A best assumption of 30 percent of electrified sales (battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids) by 2025 means that at least 80 percent of our vehicles will have an internal combustion engine,” Froelich continued.
BMW expects diesel cars to survive at least another 20 years and petrol engines at least 30 years, Froelich said. He also claimed that, though it is, of course, part of their plans, "the shift to electrification is overhyped."
In order to comply with Europe's tough emissions regulations, BMW is going to have to phase out certain types of engines.
For diesel cars, the automaker will stop manufacturing their 1.5-liter three-cylinder unit, only offered in Europe, as it is too expensive to adapt it to comply with regulations.
BMW's 400-hp, six-cylinder diesel, offered in their 750d upper-premium car, won't be replaced as its four turbochargers make it too difficult to redesign, Froelich said.
The car manufacturer will continue to develop four- and six-cylinder diesel engines, though they will have no more than three turbos.
Finally, for petrol engines, the V-12 twelve-cylinder engine is likely to be phased out soon. “Each year, we have to invest to update the V-12 to new emissions regulations, particularly in China,” Froelich said.
As BMW adapt to new regulations and a future of hybrid and electric, as well as autonomous, cars, they will have to change their engine output. However, this will be a gradual change that takes years, rather than one that happens overnight.