BMW is fully committed to outperforming Tesla by prioritizing and focusing on the development of battery electric vehicles (BEVs)

After losing the US luxury sales crown to Tesla last year, BMW is resolute in its determination to outshine the American electric vehicle manufacturer on its own turf.

BMW intends to bolster its lineup of sedans and crossovers with compelling battery-powered models in the coming years, intensifying the competition and putting added pressure on Tesla.

In an interview with Automotive News, BMW of North America CEO Sebastian Mackensen emphasized that the company’s primary focus in the foreseeable future is centered around “expanding into battery-electric vehicles,” underlining the significance of transitioning their business towards this goal.

BMW experienced electric vehicles comprising 5 percent of their US sales last year, and Mackensen expresses confidence that the share of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will “more than double” this year, surpassing the overall sales growth of the automaker in the US.

While plug-in hybrids still enjoy healthy demand, Mackensen believes that BEVs will be the primary drivers of long-term demand.

According to Mackensen, BMW recognizes the importance of bringing suitable electric vehicles to the market. However, he also asserts that the progress of EV adoption is hindered by the limitations of the charging infrastructure.

Mackensen emphasized the necessity of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, noting that they cannot be charged as quickly as refueling at a traditional fuel station.

He expressed that relying solely on single-family homes for charging is insufficient to drive market adoption beyond 50 percent. Mackensen called upon governments, communities, and manufacturers to take greater action in expanding and improving the charging infrastructure to meet the growing demands of electric vehicles.

While acknowledging Tesla’s pioneering role in the electric vehicle industry, Mackensen recognized their accomplishments, stating that the EV manufacturer has been leading the way in the overall transition.

However, BMW is concentrating on its own strengths and taking customer feedback into account. Their aim is to provide an electrified driving experience that remains true to the BMW brand, allowing customers to enjoy an electric car that upholds the performance and characteristics expected from a BMW vehicle.

Mackensen highlighted one of BMW’s key advantages in the United States—the extensive dealer network, which possesses significant service capabilities and excels in ensuring a positive customer experience.

While acknowledging the anticipated long-term shift towards battery power, Mackensen maintains confidence in the near-term demand for combustion engines.

Mackensen expressed, “We are selling the Ultimate Driving Machine, which can excel as the ultimate combustion engine-driving machine and also as the ultimate electrified machine.”

When questioned about how BMW manages the profitable internal combustion engine business alongside the high-potential EV business, Mackensen emphasized his primary concern of positioning the brand to offer customers a range of choices.

Mackensen clarified, “We don’t have to insist that every customer who enters our stores looking for a 3 Series 330i should switch to an i4. We provide a diverse range of options.” He highlighted that BMW operates globally, encompassing markets with varying EV mandates, ranging from 10 percent by 2030 to complete electrification.

Consequently, the company must maintain a diversified powertrain portfolio to meet the demands of different markets.

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By Ryan

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