Iconic German automaker BMW could phase out production of internal combustion engines in the next decade, according to a September 2014 analyst report that has captured the attention of several online reviewers.
“While many car companies doubt electric cars will ultimately represent a large portion of new car sales, BMW is not one of those companies,” Baron Funds reported last year, based on visits to BMW headquarters in Munich and the company’s electric vehicle, carbon fibre, and battery pack assembly plants. “The BMW financial team believes a revolution in drive train is under way. We believe that BMW will likely phase out internal combustion engines over the next 10 years!”
“I don’t think it’s entirely unlikely that BMW—and most other car companies—will eventually abandon the ICE for something more efficient,” comments Jason Torchinsky on the widely-respected Jalopnik automotive blog. “Let’s face it, all of the low-hanging efficiency fruit has been plucked from the old Otto four-cycle engine, and while they get better and better, they’re still not all that efficient.”
If a revolution in power generation “manages to get the money/energy equation of solar-generated electricity cheaper than gasoline, then you bet everyone will be migrating away from explosions in little pots and to twirling electrons.”
Torchinsky isn’t so sure the transition can happen in a decade. But last week, Deborah Lawrence of the Energy Policy Forum noted that electric vehicles are already cheaper to operate than internal combustion engines.
“Before the drop in crude prices, it cost about 15 cents/mile to drive a gasoline powered car as opposed to about 4 cents/mile for an EV,” she writes. “Now crude has plunged approximately 50%. Still it is cheaper to drive an EV.
Moreover, “while EVs are expensive to build because of the currently high cost of the batteries, the costs here too are expected to fall precipitously over the next few years, making an EV potentially cheaper than an internal combustion engine to build. And all of this is expected to occur in less than 10 years.”