Mr Rosenbichler, the German government declared its intention to have more than one million electric cars on German roads by 2020. What do you make of this? Does this seem realistic?
I believe that the fundamental target is both sensible and the right thing to do. However, there is still some way to go before this target is attained. For example, the recharging infrastructure must be rapidly expanded.
Electric cars still only have a low market share in German.In your opinion, what can carmakers do to encourage enthusiasm for electromobility?
I believe that it is necessary to make electromobility more desirable and suitable for everyday use. At the same time, we need to remove obstacles which prevent consumers from buying electric vehicles more regularly. A key factor in this are the costs associated with battery storage systems, which are still hugely expensive today. It creates a direct conflict of interest between the price of the electric vehicle and its range. However, we are seeing significant progress: Over the next few years, we will see prices remain at their current level while vehicle ranges will be continually extended. Another issue, as previously mentioned, is the recharging infrastructure. There is still a lot to do in this regard: The situation is being improved by a steady expansion, for example by way of our “ChargeNow” service – the world’s largest network of charging stations. The hurdles to electromobility are therefore being gradually removed in this regard too. However, if I return to the original question, as to how we not only remove barriers but also create enthusiasm, then I personally see it as vital that we break down common misconceptions about electric cars. At the moment, people see electric vehicles as being environmentally friendly, practical but also rather joyless - these are not the kind of aspects which can stimulate the emotions. Anybody who has driven one of our BMW i models immediately noted the typical joy of driving associated with BMW. For example, the drive of our i3 model is unbelievably dynamic, offering drivers an incredible driving experience. It leaves most other cars trailing in its wake back at the traffic lights. Today, many electric cars already deliver that rush of excitement. You just have to experience it in the truest sense of the word.
Assuming that an eco-conscious mother with two children from your neighborhood needs a new family car and asks for some advice, would you recommend an electric car? If yes, which model is best-suited to her needs, would you say?
It would obviously depend entirely on her requirements. If my neighbor needed a car to get about town and had ample opportunity to recharge the battery, for example at home in her own garage, than naturally I would also recommend an electric car to her. It will come as little surprise that I immediately think of a BMW... the i3 offers everything BMW has come to stand for. There’s sufficient room for a small family, it is fully electric as well as being exemplary in terms of the sustainability of its entire concept: from manufacturing and materials used to the recycling process. However, should my neighbor regularly need to drive longer distances and require a larger overall range, I would tend towards one of our BMW iPerformance models complete with eDrive. This includes plug-in hybrid technology. For example, with the BMW 225xe iPerformance Active Tourer or the BMW 330e iPerformance, my neighbor would have a car which can cover distances of up to 40km using only its electric drive, but beyond this can rely on a sophisticated and conventional drivetrain in all aspects. As a result, these vehicles combine a fascinating electric driving experience and dynamism with incredibly appealing consumption values. And all this at a price comparable to conventional vehicles with similar power levels.
In the long-term, what do you think the future holds for electric cars? Will petrol and diesel cars fall from favor in future?
We will see both combustion engines and electric drivetrains together for a good while yet. At BMW, we predict that electric vehicles will account for between 15% and 25% of total sales by 2025. However, one day, we will probably see far more electric vehicles on our roads. We are helping to bring about this shift with our BMW i brand. Even today, we are German’s most successful supplier of electric and electrified vehicles.
Would you mind telling us if you have driven an electric car before? Or perhaps you could simply explain your own personal experiences and impression of electric cars?
It is my privilege in my role at BMW to ensure that I am familiar with both our own products and those of our competitors. I have therefore been able to gain substantial experience with many different electric vehicles. I have already outlined my experiences and impressions: The powerful and practically silent drivetrains offer a particular kind of rush behind the wheel, which I find a real thrill. Although I must admit that everyone knows me as a true petrol head - and with good reason!
Thank you for your time!