EVs may be hard to sell over cheaper gasoline, says BMW exec

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 21, 2015

With the price of the gasoline on the decline, electric vehicles may become harder to sell, remarked Ian Robertson, chief of sales and marketing at BMW. The German company is one of the carmakers planning to build plug-in versions of its models. “There are some short-term changes that will occur in some countries,” Robertson remarked, adding the cheaper gasoline would make bigger-engine vehicle easier to sell.

With US pumping at the fastest rate in over three decades and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries refusing to reduce supply, oil prices have dropped 40 percent in the past 12 months. This has prompted car buyers to shift from pricier hybrid or electric vehicles to bigger models powered by conventional engines.

In fact, sales of hybrid and electric cars in US dropped 3.7 percent in 2014 to 570,475 units, according to the Electric Drive Transportation Association. But that failed to faze carmakers, which are very much concern about meeting legislations that veer towards a zero-emission future.

BMW is in fact proceeding with a plug-in hybrid version of its X5 SUV. “The legislative framework in the US and Europe, China and Japan is clear,” Robertson said, adding that it will not change.

He remarked that the advent of zero-emission cars is coming, so BMW’s strategy remains on that track. In 2014, BMW sold 16,052 of i3 city cars and 1,741 of i8 plug-in hybrid sports cars.

Topics: bmw, electric car, sales

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