BMW North America CEO Backpedals On Electric Car Remarks

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BMW North America CEO Backpedals On Electric Car Remarks
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BMW North America CEO Jim O’Donnell apparently made some “disparaging” remarks about electric vehicles, including his dislike for EV tax credits, and his belief that the battery range currently available makes them an unrealistic proposition for “at least 90 percent” of the population.

O’Donnell subsequently apologized for his remarks, and re-affirmed his commitment to BMW’s EV program, stating “I want to stress I am 100% behind our company’s plans to design, develop, lease and sell electric vehicles. We are confident we are on the right path with the range and flexibility of the all-new BMW ActiveE and the forthcoming BMW i3 (seen above).”

For our part, we think O’Donnell was being candid and perhaps a bit too honest, especially regarding the company he works for, but we are inclined to agree with his original statements, despite our enthusiasm for electric car technology.

  • Quinn McNamara

    You should have stuck to your guns Jim. At least now we know what you really think and that even those peddling EVs don’t believe in them.

  • Jennifer

    Quinn: You’re missing the point here Jim is backpedaling because his remarks aren’t in line with BMW’s views on electric cars. BMW is quietly developing a broad range of plug in vehicles, from pure battery electrics to highly efficient plug in hybrids. Within the next six to seven years they will have at least five of them for sale. And starting in Q4 2013 – Q1 2014 the first two, the mega city and the 18 sports car will be available.
    Jim O’Donnell can have whatever personal opinions he would like, but when his opinions start to tarnish the BMW badge, and open the company philosophy up to questioning, then he needs to be reigned in. Which apparently is what happened the past few days.

  • Tim

    I think he needs to present the view that regardless of your need for electric or ICE BMW should be your first choice.
    Even if only 10% of the market is currently serviceable that is still a meaningful amount.
    I think a line needs to drawn between failing to support the company vision, and being realistic that few of us will benefit with technology where it is today.
    Since he does not seem mad about the development money that has been given to car companies and battery companies why he would begrudge buyers getting one aswell? I’m only against it since I don’t qualify for them and it’s making it hard for me to buy one due to no availability!