Volkswagen has decided to focus on battery electric cars. CEO Herbert Diess demanded a few weeks ago that the German automotive industry and politics join the Wolfsburgers. Now has BMW development chief Klaus Fröhlich commented on the thrust.
Behind the scenes, it was said that Volkswagen in the dispute over the future focus on alternative drives with a withdrawal from the Association of the Automotive Industry VDA threat. "Exchange is important," said Fröhlich in an interview with the world, but emphasized with a view to Volkswagen but also: "We do not support this Rumpelstilzchen approach."
While Volkswagen places the battery drive at the center of its future strategy, BMW continues to focus on a mix of classic burners, synthetic fuels and semi-electric and all-electric power units. "We have to set ourselves up technologically to be well prepared for the future," Fröhlich warned. The purchasing power of motorists and the infrastructure are different worldwide, which requires a flexible strategy.
Fröhlich pointed out that German carmakers did not necessarily have to pursue a common position. The demand of Volkswagen to tailor the state support of electric cars in Germany on their own offer, but one could not stand so. "If a company tries to steer the promotion – to the detriment of our economy – very unilaterally in its own direction, then we must contradict," said the BMW manager.
Volkswagen wants that in the future, especially small battery-powered electric cars are extensively promoted. Although Europe's largest automaker also plans E-models for larger segments, the focus is on conquering the mass market. To this end, various compact and small electric cars of various brands are planned at affordable prices. On the other hand, as a premium supplier BMW primarily offers large passenger cars.
"Support program for Asian manufacturers"
According to Fröhlich, Volkswagen's reorientation of e-car production in Germany would also be "a support program for Asian manufacturers of small electric cars". Corresponding vehicles could be produced there much cheaper compared to the high-wage location Germany. Electric cars German manufacturers, such as the small car BMW i3, would be disadvantaged.
The fact that BMW attaches importance to technology openness in state support also has to do with the expected market development. Fröhlich believes: "Even in the long term, a battery vehicle will always cost more than just a conventional burner because of raw material prices." In certain regions of the world, an electric or hydrogen infrastructure is "not affordable at all".
The federal government must help to ensure that the local automotive industry meets the EU's CO2 emissions targets. Politicians also have the task of "promoting the technologies in an economy that will create jobs and prosperity in the medium and long term," said Fröhlich. An economy without working people and taxpayers is "not particularly sustainable or social".
Plug-in hybrid "no transition technology"
Considered by many to be an unnecessary interim solution plug-in hybrid cars with combustion engine, electric motor and compact battery defended Fröhlich in conversation with the world, The technique is "no transitional technology". New models from BMW could travel up to 80 kilometers to the more realistic WLTP standard purely electrically and thus locally emission-free. If necessary, with the same car even longer holiday trips are comfortably possible.
Plug-in hybrids combine "the best of both worlds", continues Fröhlich. He is convinced that the technology will prevail in the long term. BMW expects to sell plug-in hybrids "for at least another 20, 30 years". "And in some regions, they will be even more common than pure battery vehicles," predicted the development chief.