The Germany-based BMW Ag, the world’s largest premium automaker, warns now that having cheap gasoline in the long run would make electric cars an even harder sell to customers.
The luxury carmaker has invested billions of dollars into developing cutting-edge technology for its “i” range of cars that include today the battery-electric city dweller i3 and top of the range plug in hybrid i8. But the company is also envisioning a range that would have a plug-in hybrid version for each of its top-selling models soon. But, according to Ian Robertson, BMW’s marketing and sales chief, when it comes to pure electric cars, the already low sales could dip even further in some regions – including the US. Robertson said that for some countries short-term changes towards bigger-engine models are expected – especially since in the US gas is already selling for less than $2 a gallon in some states.
Because the US has become one of the leading countries to produce petroleum and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ has so far refused to cut down its supply, the price of crude oil has dropped around 40 percent in the past 12 months. That’s a boon to buyers flocking to skip on that more expensive but eco-friendly car and returning to their long lost love for bigger models with traditional engines – such as SUVs, crossovers and pickup trucks. According to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, in the US already sales of hybrid and electric cars dipped 3.7 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year, reaching a total of 570,475 units.