BMW said Friday that it would stop making internal combustion engines at its Munich plant by 2024, in another step towards going even more in the direction of electric. This is not an end to new internal combustion engine production for BMW, but it feels like the beginning of the end.
The ICE engines currently made in Munich will be produced in BMW’s factories in Austria and the UK in future, production chief Milan Nedeljkovic said, though cars using the engines will still be assembled at the Munich plant.
Still, by 2023 at least half the vehicles produced in Munich would be electrified – either battery electric or plug-in hybrid, the company said.
BMW has set itself a target for at least 50% of new global car sales to be electric by 2030, and CEO Oliver Zipse said at a conference last week the company would be ready with an all-electric offering if any market banned ICEs by then.
BMW’s next big EV offering — in America, at least — is the iX, which is intended to be Tesla Model X competitor and which is really quite good and, at $83,200, is significantly cheaper than the $99,990 Model X. There is also the i4, which seems like a Model 3 competitor, or possibly a Model Y competitor if you want to be generous, and starts at $56,395. The i4 will also be the first all-electric BMW M car.
Europe, meanwhile, still gets the i3, which is no longer offered in the U.S., probably because it is a small electric car that was also very expensive, a particularly bad combination for the American market, even if the i3 was fine for what it was. Of the two all-electric BMWs that are coming to the U.S., the iX seems like it has the best shot, a car for people who live in the Northeast offended by Tesla and Elon Musk’s new-money vibe. I can’t wait, in a couple years, to see a bunch of them in Maine.