Electric cars will stay heavy until charging infrastructure is ‘sufficient’, says BMW M CEO

  • Customers aren’t happy to drive cars with lower ranges, says BMW M boss
  • Until charging infrastructure improves, EVs will need big, heavy batteries
  • BMW’s range-topping EV, the i7, weighs 2.7 tonnes

Time 7:44 am, September 14, 2023

Electric vehicles will continue to weigh more than petrol or diesel cars until infrastructure is sufficient. 

That’s according to BMW M’s CEO Frank van Meel, who said that because ‘there is not sufficient charging infrastructure’ customers aren’t happy to drive cars with lower ranges and smaller batteries which, in turn, creates lighter cars. 

‘Now you see the tendency to go to bigger batteries’, he said at the media launch of the new BMW i5 in Lisbon, Portugal.

‘Of course, then you can take another 100 or 200kg out of the car [with smaller, lighter batteries] but the customer is not happy because he says “okay, it’s a light car but then I have to make a coffee break for at least half an hour” [while the car charges up]’.

Asked if charging infrastructure was improving, Van Meel said that ‘in some countries it’s getting better, but overall, worldwide, it’s still a big issue.

‘So you will have to cope at least in the next five to 10 years with bigger batteries to make sure that you’ve got enough range’. 

Many electric cars weigh significantly more than internal combustion engined-alternatives due to the fitment of large batteries which bring more range.

BMW’s own range-topping electric car – the i7 – uses a large 101.7kWh battery which enables a range of up to 348 miles. However, because of this massive battery pack, it weighs in at 2.7 tonnes – and some other EVs are already nearing the three-tonne mark. 

The BMW M boss also talked about the Group’s new ‘Heart of Joy’ controller, which uses software to capture all of the elements of a BMW’s dynamics and implant them on the firm’s new range of electric vehicles.

Van Meel refers to it as ‘the hand of God’ and says that though some electric vehicles are already producing huge power figures, BMW M will continue to ensure that its cars ‘are all about the dynamics’ with this new software system.

Jack Evans's avatar

Jack Evans is the head of editorial for Car Dealer parent company Blackball Media. An experienced motoring journalist, he covers the latest car launches, motoring news and produces a variety of features for this website.

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