BMW: 85 Percent of Cars Will Retain Traditional Combustion Engines by 2030

Low adoption rates and poor infrastructure in some countries will hamper the switch to a fully electric lineup.

byRob Stumpf|
BMW: 85 Percent of Cars Will Retain Traditional Combustion Engines by 2030


Even though BMW has begun heavily investing in new technologies and the race to electrification is very much so happening, the Bavarian luxury car builder is taking a conservative approach and expecting only a handful of its lineup to be electrified in the next twelve years.

In a statement made by BMW to GoAuto, the automaker expects at least 85 percent of its vehicles to retain a gasoline-powered engine in some form in 2030.

“A very optimistic scenario says 30 percent of BMWs will be pure electric or plug-in hybrids and 70 percent will be combustion," BMW chief of product development Klaus Frohlich told GoAuto. "If you assume that, from this 30 percent, half of them are plug-in hybrids - I have 85 percent in my portfolio in 2030 with a combustion engine."

Frohlich goes on to mention that BMW has already purchased decade-long contracts for lithium and cobalt for its future battery production, set to begin in 2025. Many other manufacturers are looking towards the future and see battery-only vehicles as one of their more prominent goals. Automakers like Volkswagen seek to sell over one million electrified vehicles annually by 2025 by having over 50 battery-only models across its brands by 2030

Even luxury automakers like Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz are entering the sprint to drive the future market. So why is BMW playing it safe with EVs despite having existing product lines which already make use of that very same technology? The answer is simple: the lack of worldwide adoption. 

BMW believes that parts of the world with less infrastructure for electric cars will be more difficult to adapt to the shift. Frohlich calls out Australia and Russia specifically, but mentions that many parts of the world are expected to run on traditional combustion engines "for a very long time." In order to continue selling vehicles in these markets, BMW must cater to the local offerings of each country if the infrastructure won't support new technologies.

The good news for enthusiasts is that although BMW has dropped the manual transmission, its petrol-powered engine is here to stay for quite some time. It could be that the automaker will be one of the first to slow its approach towards electrification to make the transition more comfortable and affordable, all while retaining platforms that its customers are familiar with.