The new decade getting under way will be marked by widespread adoption of hybrid and fully electric cars, raising serious questions about the fate of conventional vehicles.
Ironically, the same week BMW announced a plug-in hybrid variant of the X1 and X2 small crossovers (Canadian availability has yet to be confirmed), its R&D director went on the record to say that the German automaker will keep building internal combustion engines for at least 30 more years.
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“Our four- and six-cylinder diesels will remain for at least another 20 years and our gasoline units for at least 30 years,” Klaus Froehlich told Automotive News.
According to his calculations, electrified vehicles will account for only 20-30 percent of worldwide sales by 2030.
He gave the example of China, where the big east coast cities “will become purely electric pretty soon” while other parts of the country will rely on gasoline engines for another 15-20 years due to a lack of infrastructure.
What about North America? Froehlich believes “most of the U.S. does not need a battery-electric vehicle.” Plug-in hybrids will be the preferred compromise for a long time, he hinted.
As for light- and heavy-duty trucks, the BMW executive claims that hydrogen fuel cells will make the most sense in the future.
Now, here’s a thought: if China and Europe didn’t impose such stringent regulations and standards to reduce CO2 emissions, would BMW and others continue to make combustion engines until the very last drop of oil is pumped out of the earth?
We’ll let you answer that question…