BMW boss Norbert Reithofer has defended his company's costly entry into the electric car market, despite signs that German motorists are fighting shy of the new, green technology.
"The need to go down new roads when the parameters change is not something that can be delayed or ignored," said Reithofer in Stuttgart at a recent symposium organized by Germany's leading Auto Motor und Sport motoring magazine.
"It is far too short-sighted to regard the German market as the sole benchmark of electro-mobility success," said the BMW executive.
BMW is poised to launch its first all-electric car at the end of this year, the lightweight i3, on which the company has pinned many long-term hopes.
Manufacturers in Germany have encountered resistance to all-electric cars and they are set to fall short of a federal government target of 25,000 all-electric cars sold in 2012, as programme leader Christina Tenkhoff told journalists at the recent Hanover industrial trade fair.
Experts doubt whether the aim of getting 1 million electric cars on German roads by 2020 is actually feasible. At the moment alternative propulsion accounts for only 1.3 percent of cars sold in Germany.
BMW boss Reithofer remained unperturbed.
"The market punishes those who do not act," he said. In Beijing or Shanghai where car ownership is soaring, the authorities have begun rationing number plates for new vehicles to limit the number on the roads.
"Initiatives like these could give the introduction of all-electric cars a tremendous boost," said Reithofer.
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