BMW Defends Diesel, Pushes Forward With Electrification. Hrm…

AUG 28 2017 BY MARK KANE 41

The BMW Group has announced its course for future mobility, which somewhat curiously includes both electrification and “clean” diesel engines.

This brings out a lot of mixed emotions for us, as truthfully, we loathe diesel promotion (or really even just straight ICE technology), but at the same time, BMW is also the most advanced “traditional” OEM when it comes to plug-in offerings (9), and overall plug-in market share inside the brand (up to 5%).  So we can’t hate on the promotion of diesel inside BMW’s rapidly shrinking non plug-in business too much.

BMW i + iPerformance + MINI PHEV sales worldwide – June 2017

BMW said that this year that will sell more than 100,000 all-electric or plug-in hybrid cars (offering nine BMW i or iPerformance models in total).

At the same time, the German manufacturer publicly defends Euro 6 standards diesel, because those engines “are just as clean or even cleaner than petrol engines“.

We rightfully can’t understand why one would want to promote diesel at the same time as plug-ins, especially considering the fallout from diesel of late (and falling sales), but we suspect it has something to do with putting a brave face on current product offerings…and also supporting those offerings which are too far along in BMW’s product development cycle to stop.

BMW AG Management Board Chairman Harald Krüger explains:

“Sustainability is as much a part of us as Sheer Driving Pleasure. With BMW i, we were the first German manufacturer to make a clear commitment to electric mobility. But as well as emotion and pleasure, we are convinced that future mobility must be sustainable mobility. We are driving the transition as hard and as fast as possible and have launched more electrified vehicles than any of our established competitors.”

“However, electrification is not the only sustainable drive solution: “Future mobility will definitely depend on state-of-the-art diesels as well,” said Krüger, “because environmental protection has several dimensions: one of them is the fight against climate change.””

Well, it’s hard to say what the response will be. But again, we reckon that BMW is simply scared about the diesel fade in Europe and having some incongruent products.

Consumers eroding confidence in diesels – EagleAID

Here is bulk of the explanation from BMW:

“Modern, efficient diesel engines ensure lower CO2 emissions and therefore make an important contribution to protecting the environment. In addition, when it comes to many unwanted emissions, diesels are just as clean or even cleaner than petrol engines. This can certainly be said of particulate, hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions, meaning that three of the four major diesel pollutant issues have been resolved and no longer have any adverse effect on air quality. This is why the BMW Group is calling for objective discussions based on facts and scientific evidence.

In this context, the BMW Group supports the comprehensive measures of the “National Diesel Forum” aimed at further improving air quality in cities.

    • In addition to these measures, the BMW Group is preparing an EU-wide fleet-renewal campaign which will have a positive impact on resources, the climate and the environment as a whole. Initially until 31 December 2017, owners of diesel vehicles that meet Euro 4 standards or less will be granted an environment bonus of up to €2,000 (amount dependent on model bought) when they trade in their vehicle and purchase a new BMW or MINI. Their chosen replacement must be either a BMW i3, a plug-in hybrid or a Euro 6-standard vehicle with CO2 emissions of up to 130 grams per kilometer (in the NEDC). This special campaign will begin soon, certainly before the end of August. The bonus is in addition to any other government incentives.
  • Averaged across the fleet, BMW Group diesel vehicles emit 40% less NOX than the German average, as reported by the Germany Federal Environment agency in April 2017. These excellent figures are true for both our Euro 5 and Euro 6 vehicles. In addition, experience gained through actual on-road driving between 2010 and 2015 means the BMW Group can offer an additional optimisation of the exhaust-treatment system for 225,000 of the Euro 5 models currently on the road in Germany – at no extra cost to the customer, of course.
  • Furthermore, the BMW Group is investing in the Sustainable Urban Mobility fund and is using the opportunities offered by digitalisation to support major cities to better handle increased traffic volumes, thereby reducing emissions. Based on projects like the strategic partnership with Hamburg on the roll-out of electric mobility and the research project “City2Share” with Munich and Hamburg, the BMW Group is intensifying its dialogue with municipal authorities in order to establish better conditions for increased electric mobility and car-sharing.

With regard to the current diesel debate, Krüger said, “For almost two years now, diesel technology which is cutting-edge, highly efficient and popular with customers has been deliberately and publicly discredited. This has caused tremendous uncertainty among millions of drivers and it’s not going to get us anywhere. The German automotive industry will remain strong in innovation: we will provide tomorrow’s mobility solutions.”

The BMW Group has repeatedly made clear that its exhaust treatment technologies are very different from others available in the market and the company continues to seek true competition in this area. The company categorically rejects allegations made by some media of non-compliant technology employed in diesel exhaust-treatment systems. “Investigations by authorities at home and abroad confirm that vehicles by the BMW Group are not rigged for testing purposes,” Krüger explained.

In addition to the ongoing optimisation of the internal combustion engine, the BMW Group is forging ahead with the roll-out of electric mobility. Moving forward, flexible vehicle architectures and manufacturing facilities will allow the BMW Group to decide at short notice which models and volumes to produce with what type of drive: highly efficient combustion-powered, plug-in hybrid or fully electric.

In 2017, the BMW Group expects sales of its electrified vehicles to exceed 100,000 for the first time in a single year, with the all-electric BMW i3, BMW i8, BMW iPerformance plug-in hybrids and the plug-in hybrid MINI Countryman all contributing to the figures. The company’s electrified range currently comprises nine electrified vehicles and will be further complemented in 2018 by the all-new BMW i8 Roadster. Shortly after that, battery-only solutions will be rolled out across the BMW Group’s core brands, with Plant Oxford starting production of the battery-powered MINI in 2019, and the battery-only BMW X3 following in 2020. The following year, 2021, will see the launch of the BMW Group’s new technology spearhead: the all-electric BMW iNEXT. This will be manufactured at Plant Dingolfing – a decision that underscores the importance of Germany as a base for future technologies and a centre of excellence for electric mobility.”

To us, just the sheer word count BMW is using to attempt to defend its position of diesel alongside plug-ins in the future is enough to give us pause.  But then again, we likely aren’t the most objective outfit on the subject to draw a final conclusion…just like BMW.

Categories: BMW


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41 Comments on "BMW Defends Diesel, Pushes Forward With Electrification. Hrm…"

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“objectionable outfit”, is how my Diesel Duds are wearing today!

That graph is awful and whoever made it has a agenda. No reason to make it look like diesel is down to 5-10% market when it actually only lost about 5% total in a year.

Everyone can see that plugin/hybrid cars will take over in the next 10 years. Government mandates are seeing to that… All the car companies can’t come out and say that or they would be gutting sales of higher % profit cars.

Well, maybe, for BEV’s. But hybrids are just a pain in the ass, IMHO, as they bring quite high cost and high complexity. I would not buy ever such a “mumbo jumbo”. They are just a (sad) transition to full electric cars. 🙂 I like to believe the battery technology improvement waits just around the corner… As we can see, current real ranges are going easily up to 225 miles, double of the range we had just five years ago. A breakthrough in battery technology (IMHO, the breakpoint would be: having 450miles of real range, by 15minutes charging time, at a 50% lower battery cost) will kill instantly both ICE’s and hybrids. Electric cars are simply… beautiful, in terms of energy efficiency, simplicity, delivered dynamics, maintenance and environmental friendliness.

Diesel is tanking. Clinging to old failed technologies is not going help BMW move forward.
Clean Diesel is like Clean Coal, in that by using words these people somehow expect to try and fool scientific principles as they try and fool people.


Well, unfotunatelly we’re still at least 1 generation of new diesel away from the point that BEVs can replace diesels for a lot of drivers in Germany. Think 200+ km daily commutes (each way) on autoban at 150+ km/h for 40.000 euros (or 50.000), plus premium materials and build quality (or 25.000 EUR in a 150 HP TDI Golf that can do the same thing). So yes, there’ll still be market for diesels in some countries unlless they are forbidden (outright or at least in cities). If they (hopefully) are, there’ll be HEV/PHEV alternatives which even today are almost same price as comparable diesel (maybe 10% more expensive).

Another Euro point of view

Indeed, a EUR 25K TDI is what I have and it probably represent the very top of efficiency as regards what ICE can offer before being replaced by EV. I fully support Elon Musk efforts with self driving technology as I simply will not drive an EV without one. Cruising at 150 km/h on the highway as you describe is reality for many of us TDI owners and should we be forced to drive on EV batteries at EV speeds would be about sustainable with a trunk load of prozac to save us from boredom and depression. There are still tons of good reasons to drive long distances with cars. You like camping, you own a boat so you need to transport gear, you have a holiday cabin somewhere. You just like to wander around in a car and discover unexpected places. That is what made the success of cars for more than 100 years. Not just city commuting.

“EV batteries at EV speeds would be about sustainable with a trunk load of prozac to save us from boredom and depression”

Spoken as if from ‘Another Industrial point of view’, trying to shape miss-perception (again?). It’s the POS oil-burners, that big names like BMW still have ‘out back’. Those are the reason they keep trying to get their cult customers going down this delusional rabbit hole.

It’s great to watch 100,000+ watt charging stations pave the United States and Europe, because they sufficiently close the gap for people who actually care, while giving them the pleasure to destroy any leftover, or half-baked, European car they please.

“should we be forced to drive on EV batteries at EV speeds”

You realize that every single Tesla ever made can go faster than 150 km/hr, right?

What is this total garbage?

How far can a Tesla go before needing a recharge at 150 km/hr? (That’s 93 mph) I think that’s what he’s getting at. To have the range to actually get to a further destination you have to drive slower than that even in the magical Tesla.

However, this is primarily a German problem I think. Few people in other countries routinely drive this fast. That is well beyond the speed limit in every country I’ve driven in except Germany and even then, it’s only in parts of it.

If you drove 200km x 2 a day and paid german prices for diesel you could buy even a Model S and have a lower TCO over a 40K diesel. This much driving would cost you about 10 000 EUR a year only for the fuel!

But if you insist stick to your “cheap” diesel…

“Think 200+ km daily commutes (each way) on autoban at 150+ km/h”

That probably describes less than 1% of German drivers.

Actually, there are alot of unicorns and truck drivers that drive that much daily so he’s obviously in the know.

Wait a minute President Tweet is creating jobs “cleaning coal” LOL

The only thing I can see diesel survives a bit longer is thru “diesel electric” technology which is far more expensive in combination.

But the appeal is that it can be used in heavy duty vehicles and run on renewable bio diesel.

True. Because that will be the last place penetrated by fully electric vehicles. The Tesla mini-semi, notwithstanding.

Another Euro point of view

And why not ? This is not a church I hope. I like both technologies, diesel and EV. We will need to get rid of diesels for environmental issues but they are lovely cars to drive, at least the turbo diesel ones. Buying a turbo diesel is buying yourself freedom as they offer such an efficient long range transportation tool with so little need of a fueling infrastructure. Before diesel domination in Europe there were fuel stations every like 30 km on highways in Europe. Now some highways can often stretch more than 50km without one. Many small fuel stations were forced to close down.

As a tesla cult member this is a church…you either join and thrive or burn in diesel hell LOL

Another Euro point of view


Diesels are great for range but personally I’ve found even the most recent diesels to be beyond awful to drive. They make horrible noises, they vibrate more than any other engine type, and are just generally an awful experience.

EVs are in most ways polar opposites. Also, you can most definitely drive EVs long distances (as many have done) as long as there is high-speed charging support.

Drive? Diesels offer the promise of understeer, as their typically heavier engines heave the front end. “Fun”, for some people? Vibration and noise are another matter, alltogether.

Anyone remember “Accoustic Program”, from diesel-gate? If you saw the huge effort that goes into sound deadening: injector solenoids firing at 30k PSI, under-trays turned ‘sound diffuser’, cocoon-like engine covers. And those are for the upper frequencies. Lower frequency vibration can border on comical, for a luxury car.

But what should we expect? These companies have to make money.

In my view,Diesel and Even Gas are Caveman “Clunker Technology” , A thing of the past . Not for Me ! Period !

500km?????? Where… Poland.. Finland? Not in the middle.. Where I live. And in any case apart from Germany everyone has a speed limit.. Germany could implement one too. It would not make much of a difference because most of the time you can’t drive more than 130kmh simple because the roads are too congested. All this talk about cruising the free way at 180 kmh for hours is pie in the sky.. Maybe at 4am…

Another Euro point of view

“apart from Germany everyone has a speed limit”

I use this:

The key is not to drive too fast. Too fast would be 20km/h above speed limits. So you set your speed between 140km/h and 150km/h that is a real 135-140 km/h and except when very busy traffic (holidays etc..) you can drive like this for hours. Gives you a feeling a bit like this 🙂

So you are saying that a turbo diesel would have a better torque curve than a EV?

Another Euro point of view

What are you all smoking tonight ! 🙂 Where did I write this. I want some of what you are smoking.

I suspect they were reading into your “pressure to drive” comment.

“We will need to get rid of diesels for environmental issues but they are lovely cars to drive…”

Sure, it’s nice for the driver of that diesel. Not so nice for the driver behind him, inhaling all that air laden with carcinogen-laced tiny soot particles which get embedded deep in our lungs.


As I recall, the NO3 emissions were the bigger problem with Diesel. Regardless, this news article makes me wonder whether anyone out there is still doing biodiesel, either as a home-brew thing, or a business.

Anyone doing biodiesel?

In Sweden ~30% of all diesel fuel sold is renewable. And the percentages are rising fast.

Mostly chemically identical HVO but also some FAME/RME.

Don’t count diesel out , .. yet

2018 Honda Civic Diesel

(just ’cause the Germans screwed it up, doesn’t mean the Japanese have)

/add, … lots of upgrades to Honda’s diesel engine, and a 9 speed automatic
//should be interesting to see the real world reviews, no speed demon, but adequate torque … this one may be pushing 60 mpg

“The engine also is one of the first Honda products to be officially tested through the Real Driving Emission procedure to validate nitrogen-oxide and particulate emission levels.

The diesel powertrain has a new NOx Storage Converter system with larger catalysts and a higher content of noble metals (silver, platinum and neodymium) that store nitrogen-oxide gas until the regeneration cycle. A soot sensor detects when the regeneration cycle is required, extending exhaust component life.”

10.4 seconds, to 60mph? The Ceres piece, cited here a couple weeks ago, identifies other Japanese makers (Skyactive) waiting to introduce small-diesel.

Is this the next ~five years, from Asia and Europe?:
-stop start
-small diesel, small gas
-anemic PHEV
-gimped BEV

What an opportunity, for an early mover.

I’m going to guess the slow acceleration is due to the emissions (NOx).

… still, if you’re in a hurry to travel long distance, diesel will definitely get you there first (vs BEV). And the small diesel’s torque should help make it acceptable to most.

Kruger and his company, BMW, are a leading reason why the average German plug-in has ***40KWh less*** than the average American.

Fast talking and slow walking.

Seriously, BMW is still trying to push “clean” diesels as if they haven’t become the world’s most unfunny joke?

That’s so sad.

Bio diesel are actually far cleaner than fossil diesel so it is relatively cleaner. Also, renewable bio diesel generated from food waste is even better.

Bio diesel and diesel in general generates far less VOC than gasoline or ethanol.

With Particulates filter, the bio diesel basically generates no PM. NOx is also naturally lower than the fossil version.

Everyone knows that diesels can only meet the (too low) emission standards when fully warmed up and in temperate outside temperature conditions. Short drives and high or low outside temperatures make diesels dirtier than ever.

Diesels are dead.

BMW will “learn” through continuous market share loss that they have picked the wrong horse.

Gotta love those concepts cars in the picture with housed front wheels that can’t even turn such that the cars can’t steer. LOL.