BMW CEO urges Germans to accept electric vehicles

Article by Anita Panait, on May 17, 2013

BMW chief executive Norbert Reithofer urged his fellowmen to throw away their worries over electric-vehicle technology. Reithofer said that while Germany is respected and admired for its engineering expertise and innovation, it is also home to the so-called 'German angst.' BMW’s CEO said that Germans like to engage in long and fearful discussions because they tend to see more problems than opportunities, adding that it is no different with electro-mobility.

The German carmaker wants its i3 city car – its first electric vehicle – to have a good start when it goes on sale later this year even as EVs have been posting dismal sales results due to high costs and concerns over their range. BMW considers the i3 as a key part of its strategy to keep rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz behind its tail.

To play down concerns over electric cars, BMW commenced a global marketing campaign on May 14, 2013 to promote its "i" sub brand via print and Internet ads as well as a series of nine online videos.BMW will also equip the i3 with an auxiliary engine that takes over if the battery runs out of power.

The range auxiliary engine could extend the i3’s range to over 300 kilometers before having to recharge -- more than double the normal range on battery alone. Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences, remarked that after the hype, “we're now in a phase of disenchantment on electric mobility." He remarked that in Germany, that is a good thing since people look at things more pragmatically.

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