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Frankfurt show: BMW says EV rollout unstoppable

Charge ahead: The updated i3 is coming to Australia soon, while a number of other electrified BMWs are on the cards.

More electrified BMWs headed to Aus, regardless of federal government assistance

BMW logo20 Sep 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON in Frankfurt

BMW Australia chief executive officer Marc Werner says the car-maker’s rollout of electrified vehicles will continue unaffected by the federal government’s lack of action in supporting infrastructure or incentives.

Mr Werner has in the past been vocal in pushing the federal government to at least look into the viability of partially backing an electric vehicle (EV) charging network and providing financial incentives for buyers of environmentally friendly cars.

Discussing the dominant e-mobility theme of last week’s Frankfurt motor show, Mr Werner said the there was a clear trend globally towards electric vehicles that was likely to gain further momentum in the coming years.

“I think if you see what is happening here in Frankfurt, the big theme is really electrification,” he said on the BMW stand last week. “Not only BMW, the entire industry. I think you know it is not only a trend, it is happening. If the industry and the government can work hand in hand to make this happen for the customers, that is certainly something that we want moving forward.

“That’s why we recently joined the EV Council for example which we believe is the right next step in order to create even more awareness, not only for this technology but in general for this movement. Additionally it is also about creating further awareness and probably also shaking the tree a bit which you have to do every now and then.”

 center imageLeft: BMW Group Australia chief executive officer Marc Werner

Mr Werner said he thought there had been some progress on the part of the government and reiterated the company’s plans to expand its EV line-up in Australia.

“If you look at what has happened over the last 12 months, there is certainly more momentum. And I am very pleased to see that. We will not give up. As you have seen today we are inventing this technology and we are very serious about it.

“We want to continue to bring these excellent cars to the Australian market so it is definitely worth lobbying and we will continue to push in that direction, certainly.”

BMW offers a number of electrified models in Australia, including the iPerformance 3 Series, 5 Series, 7 Series and X5, as well as the pure ‘i’ models, the i8 sportscar and i3 hatch.

More are set to hit Australia in coming years with BMW announcing earlier this month that it will increase its global ‘i’ and iPerformance line-up to 25 models by 2025, with 12 of them being full battery electric vehicles.

Some of those models will likely be the X3 EV that was recently announced by the German car-maker, an expected plug-in version of the upcoming X7 seven-seat SUV and the as yet unseen i8 Roadster, while the facelifted i3 that made its public debut at the Frankfurt show is locked in for Australia.

While other premium brands such as Tesla, Mercedes-Benz and Audi offer a range of electrified offerings here, Mr Werner said BMW was the market leader when it comes to eco models.

“Arguably we are already the leader. We launched the BMW i brand in 2014. And if you look at the broad spectrum of the BMW i and BMW iPerformance vehicles, it is the broadest product range in the market.

“We are at the very forefront of this technology, and we are also at the forefront of the product offering. We now have more than 21 dealers that offer these kinds of products in their showrooms, so from a customer perspective that is as good as it can get.”

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