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BMW Aims for 100,000 Electric Vehicles Annually by 2020

March 21, 2014

Germany aims to put 1 million electric cars on the road by the year 2020, and now BMW AG will help make that goal a reality. Sometime after Volkswagen AG claimed that the German government’s target is achievable and that it will be making a contribution, BMW asserts that it will be manufacturing 100,000 electric cars per year by the specified year.

BMW Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer told Automotive News that the company’s electric-car production will consistently increase by 2018 before reaching maximum capacity in 2020. The Munich-based automaker’s current target for plug-in vehicles is 80,000 units more than the number they sold in 2013.

In the company’s Annual Accounts Press Conference, Reithofer said that by the year 2020, the company also hopes to lessen the resources required to make each of their vehicles by 45 percent in contrast to 2006.

It seems like the world’s largest manufacturer of luxury autos is banking on its i3 to make their 2020 plug-in vehicle production target a reality. The all-electric hatchback, which will be hitting showrooms in Germany next month, was already in demand as early as late last year. In October, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that over 8,000 customers have reserved the city car. Considering the fact that BMW only initially planned to sell 10,000 units in 2014, the number of reservations reflect high demand.

In the press conference, Reithofer confirmed that the customer demand for the i3 is “exceeding our expectations.”

“We believe the electric motor is a future technology for zero-emission driving in urban areas,” he added. “Battery technology will continue to progress.”

The BMW i3, whose pricing starts at over $41,000, will be available in the United States by the summer.

In his statement, Reithofer also mentioned that plug-in vehicles featuring hydrogen fuel cell technology will be coming soon.

In an attempt to become a market leader in terms of electric mobility, Germany launched a campaign to bring a record number of plug-in vehicles on the road by 2020. The government intends to spend approximately $240 million in battery research and development, with battery production to be done domestically. Meanwhile, it will invest $162 million determining how the vehicles will be incorporated into the eight test areas.

The goal was deemed ambitious, but Volkswagen said that it can be done if hybrids are taken into account. Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn affirmed that the company, which is the biggest auto manufacturer in Europe, will be contributing to the government’s goal in bringing more electric cars into the market.

Reithofer admitted that BMW is compelled to boost production of plug-in cars due to stringent emission standards. In order to comply with tightening regulations in Europe, carmakers are finding ways to make sure their fleet meets the 2020 requirements.

While he believes that putting more electric cars on the road is doable, he expressed that there is a need for the authorities to help out automakers if the goal is to be reached by 2020. In a press conference last year, he hoped that “discussions among national governments, the European Parliament and the European Commission” result in a program that will offer incentives to expedite the introduction of alternative drives.

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