If you were asked which automaker sold the most luxury cars in America last year, what would be your first guess? Lexus? BMW? Mercedes Benz? Would it surprise you to learn that the answer is Tesla, which just knocked BMW off its pedestal after three years running?
In a recent interview with Automotive News, BMW of North America CEO Sebastian Mackensen said the company’s priority, at least in the near term, is transitioning to battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs. Tesla, of course, only sells electric vehicles, while EVs accounted for just 5% of BMW’s sales in the US last year. Mackensen expressed his confidence that those sales will more than double this year, believing that EVs will “drive long-term demand” and that the lack of proper charging infrastructure is only what’s holding it back.
Electric vehicles need to be charged every few hundred miles. While home charging is part of the solution, it cannot be the only solution. Not everyone is able to have access to a home charger, making public chargers a necessity. Mackensen is urging communities, governments and manufacturers to do more to strengthen charging infrastructure.
BMW of North America, LLC
That being said, BMW is still confident that demand for conventional vehicles with combustion engines will remain strong. Because it serves diverse markets with different EV mandates, the company must keep a diversified portfolio. BMW is focused on listening to customer concerns and ensuring that customers have a choice between electric and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. Mackensen says the ultimate driving machine could be either.
BMW currently offers three electric vehicles, the i4, iX and i7, and the i5 is available for pre-order.