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BMW Joins VW in Backing Germany’s Electric-Vehicle Goal

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) backed the German government’s goal to have 1 million electric cars by 2020 on the country’s roads, a week after Volkswagen AG (VOW) said the target is achievable under broader terms for alternative drives.

Developing the European Union’s electric-vehicle market will need the backing of authorities, though official support in the bloc is lagging behind initiatives in the U.S. and China, BMW Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer said today in a speech at an industry conference in Munich.

“I hope the ongoing discussions between national governments, the European Parliament and the European Commission lead to a package that’s viable,” Reithofer said at the conference sponsored by Handelsblatt newspaper. “At the moment, the commission’s proposals don’t offer incentives to speed up introduction of alternative drives.”

Carmakers are promoting electric-powered models to comply with tightening regulations that apply to their fleets’ emissions across the globe. Munich-based BMW, the world’s biggest maker of luxury vehicles, is putting the 34,950-euro ($48,200) all-electric i3 city car into showrooms in Germany next month.

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said last week that the Wolfsburg, Germany-based manufacturer, Europe’s largest volume carmaker, will “contribute” to the German goal for electric vehicles to play a larger role in the market by 2020. Authorities’ plans are feasible as long as they include plug-in hybrids, which can switch between rechargeable battery power and conventional combustion engines, as the models offer the biggest market potential, he said.
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