In a statement on BMW’s Web site, CEO Jim O'Donnell gave an apology and clarified comments that he made on April 18 about electric vehicles as reported first by The Detroit News.
O’Donnell had told reporters in New York that the U.S. government has to end the $7,500 tax credit for EVs. He also expressed doubts on the quick adoption of EVs, saying that they are not practical and will not work for at least 90% of the population with its current battery range.
O’Donnell has since backtracked from those comments. In the statement, he apologized for “offending the network of electric vehicle advocates whose support has been deeply meaningful to us at BMW.” O'Donnell said that he is "100% behind” BMW’s plans to design, develop, lease and sell electric vehicles.
On April 18, O'Donnell told reporters that as he believes in a free economy, all tax credits should be abolished since what the government is doing is betting on technology – a move that he doesn’t think is appropriate.
He emphasized though that he was only giving his personal opinion. O'Donnell said that BMW will accept tax credits for EVs but he wants a "level playing field" between various technologies such as clean diesels, which he thinks are "slightly disadvantaged" by tax policy.