According to the UK’s Autocar, the head of BMW’s product development “warned” that this is the only way for it to meet tightening European CO2 regulations calling for 95g/km by 2020.
Long an innovator in gasoline and diesel powertrains, the regulatory handwriting is on the wall to go hybrid and EV, said Herbert Diess, BMW’s board member for development. As such, BMW will need to push the limits of what can be done with battery power as it’s shown with the Concept Active Tourer pictured, and more creations yet to be revealed.
“Electricification will be a central thread in what we do, be it plug-in hybrid, hybrid or full electrification. The i8 shows what’s possible even below 50g/km, but we will also offer all standard models with entry-level electrification. We will try to use the modular kit developed for the i3 and i8 on a kit basis.”
However, said Diess, BMW will be challenged to also meet its core mission as a provider of viscerally rewarding, fun-to-drive cars.
“The motivation is always sheer driving pleasure, whatever we do. Not everyone wants to take the bus or train,” he said. “But that philosophy is under environmental pressure. Automotive is one of the most heavily regulated industries. What is coming in the future is not just a reaction to customer requests, but also regulation.”
In contrast to the most-stringent EU regs for 2020, Diess observed the U.S. target has been set at 102g/km by 2025, and the target in China is 119g/km and Japan’s is 117g/km by 2020.
Not-as-great news for American fans of electrification is a story familiar to fans of gas and diesel cars in previous years – Europe will get the good stuff first.
“Europe is five to seven years ahead of the rest of the world in terms of where it is pushing us,” he said, so of necessity BMW must be ready there.
“The challenge is in meeting 95g/km and delivering real driving pleasure,” said Diess. “We must also recognize that we are now hitting against a physical limit and it will be very difficult in the next 20 years to go to a 99g/km average, let alone 50g/km for the future. The only way to do that is to rely on a high percentage of electric cars.”