Reithofer cited "German angst" to explain a potential sales roadblock for the German automaker's new "i" sub-brand, which officially debuts later this year with the i3 battery-electric vehicle, Bloomberg News reports. Reithofer says Bimmer has taken a leap of faith of sorts by investing in plug-in drivetrain technology, and now needs to encourage the German public to do the same. BMW will also start selling its i8 plug-in hybrid next year.
Whether Germans will follow suit remains in question. Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at Germany's University of Applied Sciences, tells Bloomberg that plug-ins may account for as much as three percent of Germany's new-vehicle market by the end of the decade, and says Germans remain in a "phase of disenchantment" when it comes to plug-in technology.
Reithofer has previously made a different type of appeal, recently calling European emissions standards for 2020 "impossible to meet" and lobbying for funding from the German government to help with the necessary technological improvements.