Marcin Walków, money.pl: The European Parliament voted to support the Fit for 55 plan, i.e. to ban the registration of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035. The German Finance Minister announced the objection. How does the BMW Group see it?
Christian Haririan, General Manager of the BMW Group in Poland: I don’t want to talk about politicians’ statements. As a company, we strive to bring to the market a variety of electric drives in all series, and we are preparing for 2035. This requires a number of investments, including, for example, a network of chargers in retailers.
After 2035, BMW will still make cars with traditional engines, right? The world does not end with the European Union.
Every year, we sell 2.2 million cars to more than 156 countries. Each market is unique and has different possibilities to provide infrastructure, for example. That is why electric cars will not be adopted very quickly everywhere, and we must be ready for that.
Since it will not be possible to buy new petrol or diesel cars in Europe, and there will still be demand for them in the world, how will this affect the used car market?
Do you think it could lead you to switch to “electrician” even sooner? The head of Stellantis in Poland said in an interview with money.pl that it is the Euro 7 standards that are the reason why some manufacturers want to stay ahead of the European Commission’s plans and switch to electric cars early in the EU. Because 7-8 years is too short for this huge investment in new, more economical engines to pay off.
What else, apart from charging infrastructure and low prices, is needed to stimulate demand for “electricity”?
Change of thinking. Because any new technology requires adaptation. Most of us move around the city and its surroundings a lot, covering only a few kilometers a day. And they are still afraid of electric cars and believe that only a large range will be the solution for them. At the same time, today, the owner of a car, even a small battery allows you to drive safely every day for three to five days on one charge.
Or maybe hydrogen instead of batteries?
Of course, we are working on this technology, but it is a long-term project for us. This year, a short production run of the X5 with hydrogen fuel cells will be launched on a trial basis. In a broader perspective, it is important that green energy is used to produce zero-emission vehicles. Almost 100 percent in our plants. we get energy from renewable energy sources. In Leipzig, it is energy from wind farms, in Dingolfing – from a power plant.
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See also: How much does it cost to charge an electric car? I am translating for the example of the VW ID. 3
You touched on the fact that we cannot talk about electromobility in isolation from the energy transition of the entire economy.
Exactly. Over the years our economy has benefited from Russian gas and oil because they were cheap. After the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the geographical and political situation changed. Energy demand does not decrease, on the contrary. This is the time to discuss how to accelerate the energy transition. Also from the point of view of the car market, it will be useful to prepare for 2035 by installing, for example, photovoltaics, which will be used, among others, and for charging the car.
Germany is moving away from coal and nuclear power towards solar, wind and geothermal energy. The main consumer of gas, in turn, is industry, for example glass works.
So, when we talk about electricity, yes, several things are in our hands and we are working on them. But there are also matters in the hands of the authorities, the industry in general, and the consumers themselves. Everything should go hand in hand.
Austria, where 50% of the share of electric vehicles in the number of new registrations, applies tax differences. Anyone who uses a company car pays tax. And it is more profitable to have an electric car or a plug-in hybrid than a car with a conventional motor. This is what drives the market forward and develops it.
There is a subsidy program for the purchase of electric vehicles in Poland. In your opinion, is this a good idea and should it continue?
Yes, that is a good way. We are still in such a transition stage that we need to help consumers and encourage them to change their minds, also with subsidies. Shortages in charging infrastructure mean that driving more “electrical”, you need to spend more time planning your journey today. The idea of such a payment, in a way “in return” for this effort, is quite correct.
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