BMW is accelerating its push away from the internal combustion engine towards battery technology, as the German carmaker seeks to double the number of electric and hybrid vehicles it sells in the next two years.
The company will have 25 electrified models on sale in 2023, two years earlier than previously planned, it announced on Tuesday. More than half of the vehicles will be fully electric.
The step up in BMW’s electrification efforts comes as European carmakers face an unprecedented challenge to their profitable business model as major markets, from the UK to the rest of the EU to China, plan to decarbonise road transport.
For German carmakers including BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler, the race to move away from fossil fuels is particularly urgent. Under strict EU rules due in 2021, manufacturers must ensure average emissions from new cars are below 95g of carbon dioxide per kilometre driven or face huge fines. BMW’s models averaged carbon emissions of 128.9g per kilometre in 2018, according to the data company Jato Dynamics.
In response the BMW group plans to increase sales of electric or hybrid vehicles by more than 30% a year up to 2025, slashing average emissions across its three brands: BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce.
The carmaker is launching a slew of models in Munich on Tuesday, including an all-electric concept sports car and the BMW Vision M Next. Before the event, Harald Krüger, the chairman of the BMW management board, said: “We are moving up a gear in the transformation towards sustainable mobility, thereby making our company fit for the future.
“We will offer 25 electrified vehicles already in 2023 – two years earlier than originally planned.”
BMW currently only sells one fully electric model, the i3, but this will expand to five within two years. The fully electric Mini, which will be made at BMW’s Oxford plant, will launch next month.