BMW is none too optimistic about the electric car future. “We’ve learned that people aren’t prepared to pay a higher price for an electric vehicle,” BMW Chief Financial Officer Friedrich Eichiner told reporters in Lisbon last week. “I don’t see some kind of disruptive element coming from electric cars that would prompt sales to go up quickly in the next five to six years.”
Improving battery performance is key, Stefan Juraschek, vice president of electric powertrain development for the company told reporters at a briefing in Munich, “There’s a clear trend to bigger electric cars and longer driving ranges.” But his company sees no quick way to boost electric car profits. Instead, it expects battery capacity and costs will weigh on the technology for the foreseeable future. Juraschek says it will take about 7 years to double the amount of energy stored in a battery.“We simply have to walk through the valley of tears,” to figure out how to save more money on producing battery powered cars he told the press.
That hasn’t kept BMW’s rivals from investing heavily in electric car technology. Mercedes recently revealed it will invest $11 billion to bring 10 new electric cars to market in the next 9 years. Those cars will be sold under the new EQ brand the company created last September. Volkswagen is also spending big on electric cars as it tries to dig out from under the diesel cheating scandal that broke more than a year ago. It has created a new division for its electric cars which will be marketed under the I.D. brand.
Meanwhile, Ford CEO Mark Fields is whining to anyone who will listen that nobody wants to buy electric cars. “In 2008, there were 12 electrified vehicles offered in the U.S. market and it represented 2.3 percent of the industry,” Fields said in an interview with Bloomberg recently. “Fast forward to 2016, there’s 55 models, and year to date it’s 2.8 percent.”
Oh, woe is me, Mark. If only it was 1956 again and all a car company needed to worry about was how big the tail fins on next year’s cars should be. Here’s a question for you, Mark. What good will all those Super Duper Duty trucks be worth to your company when the waters of Lake Michigan close over your factories? Take a look out your window; see what’s going on. In the final analysis, your profits will not save you.