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Bruder, can you spare a Euro?

That's what BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer was saying to the German government at a Munich conference, Green Car Congress reports, citing (and translating from German, danke schön) Financial Times Deutschland.

The Reithofer said that the German government's goal of having a million electric cars on German roads by the end of the decade will require the government to enact subsidies in the form of tax incentives. Just 2,000 EVs were sold in Germany last year.

Automobile Magazine reported in June on rumors that BMW may delay or even discontinue some of its planned electric-drive vehicles within its new i brand because of concerns over lagging demand for plug-ins, but the news from BMW continues to show progress on plug-ins. Last month, BMW unveiled a concept version of its i3 battery-electric vehicle along with the opening of the world's first i store in London. The i3, which is said to have 170 horsepower and a single-charge range of as many as 100 miles, is set to go into production next year.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      Germany can't afford to subsidize BMW, it's strapped from subsidizing Greek pensioners and bureaucrats.
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ Bradley Perhaps Germany should be strapping those Greek pensioners and bureaucrats ! (sorry, a Michael Richards. moment :).
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      @2wheel :) Well said. Of course this means starving children and old people eating dog food, but, well said.
      krona2k
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you choose the right battery chemistry as Nissan has done you can make them really cheap, maybe not as robust as you'd like, but cheap. In traditional Li-ion batteries cobalt represented 60% of the total cost (in the mid 90s) so reducing or eliminating use of cobalt gives a good saving. I don't think Nissan has shown their hand yet in the battery price game.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @krona2k
        In Germany, it gets cold, but not super hot. They will have issues with sluggishness in the winter, but not permanent degradation like Arizona / Death Valley.
      RC
      • 2 Years Ago
      In a shrinking economy everyone wants a piece of your pie. Bruder needs to review his ethics. Tesla (a brand new company) was able to make it under the same conditions. How come BMW can't produce and profitably sell an EV without governmental aid?
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RC
        Didn't the majority of Tesla's money come from private investment ( including Mr. Musk's own cash stash ) ?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RC
        Tesla got almost half a billion in low-interest government loans.
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RC
        I think this is talking about Germany, where there is no subsidy for buying plug-ins. In the US (where most of Tesla's sales come from), there is a $7,500 tax subsidy for buying plug-ins. Plus like Letstakeawalk mentions, Tesla got a $475 million low interest government loan.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @RC
        That's what she said.... (pie comment)
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a radical right wing extremist (thumped my bible earlier, yet no idea why), the subsidy thing is fairly annoying, to anyone for whatever cause. Businesses going to government with their hands out, however, is especially annoying. It might seem like a fine distinction, but I cannot blame a business for accepting money, if a government is handing it out. Specifically asking, however.... Also, one has to be suspicious of the motives. In most cases, if someone has a good idea with a good plan, venture capital will find a way to jump on the bandwagon. BMW also has some pretty hefty cash reserves (good for them), so I would think they could float it themselves. Nissan, Toyota, GM, and Ford have all gone in different directions, and yes, they received help, but unless BMW is trying to reinvent the wheel, this isn't exactly reinventing the wheel.
        Vlad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        German government set a goal of having X number of EVs on the road. BMW says that in order for that goal to be met, more incentives need to be dash out. As long as that goal has public support, I don't see anything wrong with it - but I also don't expect private business to bend over backwards to meet it. BMW is sure late to the party. However, every manufacturer will benefit from incentives, including GM/Opel, if they are enacted, so it is in no way anti-competitive.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Vlad
          The issue of incentives is to push BMWs down to a point at which enough can be sold for BMW AG to have volume, versus trying to sell a super expensive BMW against a slightly expensive Opel. Without the incentives, Opel probably is production limited, but BMW cannot possible recover costs on micro volume. With the incentives, Opel will gain slightly, but probably be production constrained in such a scenario. That helps BMW, because demand will migrate to them, allowing them to sell cars they wouldn't otherwise sell.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        I agree with you. The ability for you to enter the marketplace or produce a product should not be contingent on whether you get subsidies or not. It is basically admitting that green tech can't survive on it's own. That doesn't look good on the industry.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        "Also, one has to be suspicious of the motives" The motives are rather simple. BMW sees Opel completely dominating EV sales in every single European market that they want to sell into - the Ampera is the number 1 selling EV in every market it's in, whether Netherlands or Germany. Being late to the game, BMW will misses all of the early adopter sales, so need to catch up on the back end. But they won't get buyers who willing to pay a premium to be the first EV on their block. So they need to compete heads up against what will be a very strongly-established Opel base. That means Federal incentives. As for cash, the BMW "i" program is going to be at least as expensive as the GM Volt program, having essentially similar technology objectives from scratch, but also having to work around (or license at extreme cost) GM patents. BMW "i" needs all-new engine, an all-new transmission, all-new chassis, plus all-new control software and integration work. BMW isn't as big as GM, so it's a major cash drain to try and match.
      Rob J
      • 2 Years Ago
      I don't like to oversimplify things but a carbon tax on gasoline would easily be able to provide these subsidies.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rob J
        They already have a pretty big tax on gas.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Certainly EVs deserve tax breaks, especially in Europe. Exactly as much as any other product sold on a (nominally) free market. CUT TAXES! FIGHT GOVERNMENT GREED!!!
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      German citizens must think they are ATMs. Countries and companies all looking for handouts.
        Rob J
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        Yeah, Grrmany is just giving out the cash. What with public debt being 83% of GDP. Not like the good old USA where its only 103%...
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rob J
          Holy smokes, is Germany really that bad off these days?!?!
          throwback
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rob J
          Not sure what you are saying. If it's the USA is in even worse debt then yes you are correct, we borrow and spend way too much.
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rob J
          2WM Their economy is strong, but their govt is in high debt.
      bricko
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just tell him to F*** off. No subsidies for anything....we are done with such. Soon hopefully GM will finally go under and be done with them.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bricko
        That's the right attitude! Why read when you can write?
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Buyer to BMW we don't want this pig ugly BMW in the photo above, a RWD 5 or 3 series EV would have sold well without the need of big subsidies.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dear Mr Chairman, I would like to take the opportunity to comment on the policy of the whole BMW group, especially on the heavy media campaign regarding your so-called clean diesel engines that has been conducted for several years by now. Despite your propaganda, I still do not feel absolutely any joy while being passed by a diesel powered automobile. The smell (even with today's Euro 5) is literally unbearable. It is because microscopic solid dust particles and nitrogen oxides are expelled only from the “ecological exhausts” of diesel-powered vehicles. The Czech Constitution clearly declares that everyone from the moment of his birth has the right to breathe clean air and to live in clean environment. If some respected independent institution would conduct an extensive scientific study, it would certainly prove the harmful effects that diesel-powered engine fumes induce in living organisms. In that case the BMW group could be made liable for damages on people’s health and quality of life. How is it possible to conduct such a heavy campaign in a situation when tobacco campaigns are forbidden as well as smoking in public places itself? Why is it, that you still do not inform customers about the negative effects of the diesel engine emissions? On the contrary you still proclaim how “clean” diesel engines are. Your rattling and stinking diesel engines are the most disgusting thing that is damaging fresh air to you and to all of us. Is there possibly some treaty with OPEC? I am asking because with today’s technology that is used for example by Tesla Motors there is no need any longer to waste oil to feed motor cars. I am aware, that this letter is not going to change anything, but I just felt the need to let you know my opinion. No answer is needed. Sincerely , Peter Ptacek antidiesel.eu
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      "green tech can't survive on it's own" It's par for any new industry transition. Either the industry creates demand out of sheer awesomeness (cupholders!), or forces demand via regulated mandates (e.g. EGR).
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