BMW CEO Apologizes For Disparaging Plug-ins

By · April 28, 2011


Yesterday, BMW North American Chairman and CEO Jim O'Donnell was quoted in the Detroit News as saying—among other things—that electric vehicles “won't work” for more than 90 percent of the population. Today, O'Donnell was forced to issue an apology, reaffirming his company's commitment to plug-ins.

Read the full letter below:

BMW's Support for Electric Vehicles

On April 18th, I had a conversation reported in the Detroit News that has caused a great deal of concern over the past week. I realize I could have been clearer in my comments and I sincerely apologize if I have offended the strong network of electric vehicle advocates whose support has been deeply meaningful to us at BMW.

First I want to stress I am 100% behind our company’s plans to design, develop, lease and sell electric vehicles. We are confident we are on the right path with the range and flexibility of the all-new BMW ActiveE and the forthcoming BMW i3.

We also understand that we are a country of diverse living and driving conditions and that electric vehicles may not be the natural choice for all drivers, many of whom will want to choose other advanced technology vehicles. That’s why BMW Group is investing in the broadest possible range of future innovation – gas and diesel engines that significantly improve performance, cleanliness and efficiency; hybrids; BEVs, and even hydrogen. We strongly believe all these technologies have a role to play in a sustainable future.

In this context, it is still too early for governments to pick winners and losers, which is why incentives should be aimed at a range of innovative actions that can meet diverse needs, rather than only one or two technologies. This is what I was trying to convey with my comments – consumers are smart enough to decide the best vehicle for their particular needs, so if incentives are applied, we should be mindful of market dynamics.

I am sorry for the confusion and concern I have caused. While I clearly should have chosen my words more carefully, rest assured, BMW is fully behind electric vehicles and all of the ongoing innovation in this area. We live in a diverse world and our company is working very hard on meeting the needs of our wide range of customers all over the world.



New to EVs? Start here

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