Aside from Norway, which has seen widespread adoption due to new electric car sales overtake new traditional combustion engine vehicle sales, and China which leads the world in electric car sales by units, the adoption of electric vehicles has been lackluster everywhere else. The fear of shifting from the traditional combustion engine to a electric appears to be same throughout all markets, the potential of inconvenience. And by potential of inconvenience, I mean the travel range and charging time. Using the benchmark of a traditional combustion engine vehicle, the travel range could be somewhere 350-500 miles depending on how well maintained the vehicle is and the size of the fuel tank is and refueling for that kind of range will take no more than 15 minutes at a gas station. On the other hand for an electric car, the current technology for batteries allows for around 250 miles but will require 10 hours of charging at home or 30 minutes at a supercharger station. And for those living in the city, which may not have access to their own private charging port, the potential of inconvenience doubles.
"Soon, range will no longer be a differentiating factor," said BMW CEO Harald Kruger, in a speech during a recent shareholder meeting. BMW was one of the first major auto manufacturer to see interest in electric cars. They launched their iconic "i" sub-brand in 2013 and has evolved as technology improved throughout the electric car market. "We are already concentrating on achieving an optimum balance between all relevant features: safety, range, and duration and life of the battery," he continues.
Experts believe that BMW is close to achieving new advances in battery technology that could increase the range of their electric cars. And while the current BMW i3 has a range of 114 miles of range, it will need an upgrade in order to compete with the new wave of mass produced electric cars which all can achieve 200 plus miles of range which includes the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Tesla Model 3, and the Nissan Leaf. BMW plans to expand their "i" brand by releasing a crossover dubbed the i5, a larger sedan under the name iNext and a convertible version of the i8 plug-in hybrid. However, BMW has not put all their eggs into the electric car basket since they also have a department working on hydrogen fuel cells for "larger model series and long distances." BMW is looking to produce a low-volume fuel-cell car by 2021.