It might seem as though BMW isn’t all-in on electric vehicles. Not only is it dabbling in other forms of alternative fuel, such as hydrogen, but it’s also pushing the European Union to continue allowing internal combustions engines for a bit longer than it originally intended. It would see that BMW sees electrification as an answer to our climate problem, not the only answer. However, BMW North America CEO claims that transitioning to electrification is actually BMW’s top priority.

While speaking to Automotive News, BMW NA CEO Sebastian Mackensen said that the top priority for BMW in the near future is “the transition of our business to expand into battery-electric vehicles.”

BMW understands the road to pure electrification isn’t an easy one, nor is it a known one. This is uncharted territory for every automaker, as they adapt to an entirely new form of propulsion technology. Not only that, this new propulsion technology lacks the established infrastructure that the old technology has had for a century. And with brands like Tesla dominating the mental EV market share of customers—show me one U.S. customer who thinks of a different brand when the topic of EVs comes up and I’ll eat my shoe—BMW knows it needs horse blinders on.

“Tesla has been at the forefront of this whole transition,” Machensen told Automotive News. “That’s a fact, and you have to give that to them.”

However, he also said that BMW can’t always keep an eye on what Tesla, or any other competitor is doing, and has to stay its own course.

“But I don’t like to obsessively look right and left at what others do, but instead focus on our strengths and listen to feedback from customers who can finally drive an electrified car that drives as a BMW does,” he said.

Mackensen also spoke about the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which now limits the electric vehicles that are eligbile for federal tax credits only to those that source the majority of their battery components and manufacturing in the U.S. While BMW has already announced that it will be shifting some EV production to its Spartanburg, South Carolina factory, Mackensen says that was years in the making and not a knee-jerk reaction to the IRA, despite the coincidental timing.

With so many new upstart EV brands, like Tesla, Lucid, Rivian, Fisker, and Rimac, it might seem scary for legacy brands to compete. However, BMW welcomes the challenge, with Mackensen calling it a “positive challenge” and one that BMW will handle well.

[Source: Automotive News]