Ian Robertson, sales and marketing director of BMW, has today certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons with the suggestion that he sees no future for electric vehicles without some form of gasoline backup. This is not the kind of comment which electric car enthusiasts are looking for although it could offer an interesting short-term steppingstone to full-scale electric car take up.
Why has BMW changed its strategy?
Ahead of the launch of two BMW Mini prototypes next week the company has been discussing ongoing concerns with the electric vehicle market and what can be done in the short to medium term to reduce these concerns. There is now an open suggestion within BMW that all electric vehicles produced by the company will have some form of gasoline/petrol backup as a means of charging the car as it is being driven.
This will only be a small liquid fuel engine which will specifically recharge the batteries and will not in any way tinker with the idea of electric powered cars. The company had been hopeful that more and more electric car drivers would be more than happy to stop off at the limited number of charging points around the country, i.e. the UK, but this has not been the case. Research by BMW suggests that the vast majority of motorists would rather recharge their electric cars at home, will only call in at a charging station if desperate, and range is not a major issue at this moment in time.
These findings go against some of those from the general electric car industry although in reality many people will not be surprised to learn of a potential hybrid type steppingstone to the promised land of electric vehicles.
Should hybrid vehicles be the first port of call?
The idea of using hybrids as a means of weaning people off traditional gasoline/petrol cars is nothing new. There are many hybrid cars available today which are well received by the motoring community and the trust factor in hybrid vehicles compared to electric cars could not be more different.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Richard Hammond, from the award-winning Top Gear TV programme, has suggested that the BMW 7 series, a hybrid vehicle, will go down as one of the biggest flops from the BMW portfolio. Is he right in his assumption? Is BMW's association with the luxury end of the market reducing the attractions for electric vehicle and hybrid vehicle enthusiast?"
While BMW is one of few motoring companies around the world to suggest that "pure electric vehicles" have no future at this moment in time, the hybrid compromise does make sense. Governments around the world have been scratching their heads for ways in which to turn the motoring public on to electric vehicles thereby reducing emissions from traditional gasoline/petrol alternatives. Could hybrids be the key?
Is interest in electric cars beginning to fade?
Time and time again there have been sceptics with regards to the future of electric vehicles, they have failed so many times in the past that nobody is prepared to put everything on the line. However the reality is that electric cars are still popular today, they are growing in popularity and governments, companies and individual motorists have invested far too much time, money and effort for them to fail now.
There will be ups and downs, there will be stops and starts but the truth is that the electric vehicle bandwagon has certainly left town and is rolling ahead into the future.