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“There are millions of people in the EU whose mobility behaviour is ideally suited to a plug-in hybrid vehicle.”

In an interview with the BMW Group Media House, Pieter Nota, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG for Customer, Brands, Sales talks about the advantages of the plug-in hybrid, the technology’s future and about what he expects from legislators.

Mr. Nota, as the Member of the Board who oversees sales, you are very close to the customer. What can customers expect from BMW these days when it comes to sheer driving pleasure?

Our customers want what makes a typical BMW, not only in terms of design, but also the precision in agility and driving performance that they expect from the brand. Rather, we want to give our customers the choice of what brings them sheer driving pleasure. For us, this is the power of choice – not only when it comes to selecting the model that best suits our customers, but also which drive system is the most suitable for them.

For which customers does a plug-in hybrid vehicle make sense?

On the other, the internal combustion engine offers its full potential on long distances. For example, a hybrid vehicle is particularly useful for customers who commute to work using only electricity, but also occasionally cover long distances and who may only have one vehicle in the household. Provided that they regularly charge at home or work, they will also find this option cheaper than a conventional drive.

A common criticism is that a plug-in hybrid is far from being as clean as a comparable combustion engine.

In general, the average fuel consumption that can be achieved with a plug-in hybrid vehicle is also significantly lower in practice than with comparable conventional drives. However, if the electric drive is hardly ever used, this efficiency advantage over the combustion engine is lost. The fuel efficiency of these vehicles therefore depends largely on the driving and usage behaviour of our customers. In commuter traffic, I drive up to 70% in pure electric mode and can easily recharge the vehicle when I am at the office

But customers probably choose a plug-in hybrid mainly because of the tax savings and less because they want to drive electrically, don’t they? No, that is not correct - let me make it very clear: Many customers today are buying an electrified vehicle for the first time. They first have to experience this technology and all of its advantages. I have spoken to many customers who are absolutely convinced of the plug-in hybrid, precisely because it is optimally designed for their very different mobility requirements.

So what is the BMW Group doing to encourage customers to drive their plug-in hybrids more in electric mode instead of using the combustion engine? When entering such a zone, the vehicle automatically switches to purely electric driving mode. This helps to optimally utilise the potential of hybrid vehicles and reduce emissions. It is also even more advantageous for the user, since the electric drive system fully utilises its consumption advantages in the city. In addition, we will soon be focusing on the sporting ambitions of drivers of BMW plug-in hybrid vehicles with a loyalty program.

What is the BMW Group’s outlook for the future of plug-in hybrid vehicles?

In the EU alone, there are millions of people whose mobility behaviour is ideally suited to a plug-in hybrid vehicle. We are therefore consistently expanding our range of plug-in hybrids. By the end of this year, we will already have a total of 12 basic plug-in hybrid models available, including the new MINI Countryman* and the BMW X2*. Incidentally, we already lead in terms of the breadth of the model range, both in Germany and in the EU, but also worldwide. At this point, I would like to talk about our entire range of electrified vehicles.

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Jun 10, 2020 at 15:26

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