MUNICH (Bloomberg) -- BMW Group has backed the German government's goal to have 1 million electric cars on the country's roads by 2020.
The call comes a week after Volkswagen Group said the target is achievable if partly battery-powered cars such as hybrids are taken into account.
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 United States and China, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer said on Monday 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 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. BMW is putting the 34,950 euro ($48,200) all-electric i3 car into showrooms in Germany next month.
VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said last week that the carmaker will "contribute" to the German goal for EVs 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, Winterkorn said.
Volkswagen outlined plans in September to offer as many as 40 electric or hybrid models in the event that demand for low-emission cars takes off.
The manufacturer will produce 14 vehicles with alternative drives through next year after introducing electric versions of the Golf compact and Up minicar at the Frankfurt auto show last month. VW Group also will launch plug-in hybrid versions of the Porsche Panamera four-door coupe and Audi's A3 compact.
Corporate enthusiasm for alternative-drive vehicles has failed to translate into significant sales amid consumers' concerns that powering systems offer only limited distance before a recharge is required and objections to higher prices.
Purely or partly battery-powered vehicles accounted for 4,157 new car registrations in Germany in 2012, about twice as many as the year before, according to German auto association VDA. Germany's new-car market amounts to about 3 million vehicles a year.
Volkswagen's e-Up went on sale in Germany this month for 26,900 euros. The model is "deliberately positioned" against BMW's i3, Rudolf Krebs, head of electric-powertrain technology at VW, said on Sept. 4.
BMW presented the i3 at the Frankfurt show, as well as a plug-in hybrid version of the X5 SUV. The i8 plug-in hybrid sports car will be added to BMW's lineup in 2014.