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BMW says electrification "over-hyped", diesel engines to last "20 more years"

Despite its innovative electric models, and tightening legislation, BMW says diesel will be around for some time yet.

In sweeping predictions about global markets, a member of BMW’s board for development, Klaus Froelich, says diesel engines will exist for another 20 years, and petrols for at least another 30.

Froelich told industry publication Automotive News Europe that the take up of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) would accelerate in the next 10 years in the more affluent coastal regions of leading markets like the US and China, but large regional markets of both countries would prevent such vehicles from becoming “mainstream.”

It’s a sentiment that is echoed by much of the Australian public around the need for diesels in regional areas, and was a major talking point of the recent election.

Detractors of EVs will be happy to know that Froelich says “the shift to electrification is overhyped” and that BEVs won’t necessarily get cheaper as “demand for raw materials increases.”

The brand has admitted that its quad-turbo, inline-six diesel which lives in its M50d variants will be discontinued after its lifecycle ends as its “too complicated to build”, and will also dump its 1.5-litre, three-cylinder diesel, and possibly its V12 petrol (which lives in Rolls-Royce models) as it is too costly to keep either engine complying with emissions regulations.

BMW's quad-turbo inline-six diesel which lives in flagship M50d variants is headed for the chopping block. BMW's quad-turbo inline-six diesel which lives in flagship M50d variants is headed for the chopping block.

While the gradual electrification of the brand could mean that BMW diesel and performance engines could be headed for the chopping block, the brand suggested that high-power hybrids, and possibly even a partially electrified V8, could make it to its M badged models in the foreseeable future.

In Australia, BMW’s local arm tells us that while diesel sales are losing ground to petrol variants gradually year on year, the brand is committed to the engine tech, with no date set for phasing diesels out of the lineup.

Despite this, BMW continues to charge ahead with 48v mild-hybrid variants of its most popular models, and has gone on record before saying it is “excited” about the prospect of selling more of its EVs in Australia – provided there’s political will to make it easier for consumers to choose them.

BMW has high hopes for the iX3 - a fully electrified version of its popular X3. BMW has high hopes for the iX3 - a fully electrified version of its popular X3.

The latest demonstration of BMW’s upcoming EV tech is ‘Lucy’; the electric 5 Series. It’s the most powerful car BMW has ever built, with its trio of electric motors producing 510kW/1150Nm.

Is battery-electric technology overhyped? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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