FRANKFURT -- BMW CEO Harald Krueger said the automaker will hold back the mass rollout of electric cars until 2020 because current fourth-generation EV technology is not profitable enough for volume production.
"We wanted to wait for the fifth generation to be much more cost competitive," Krueger told analysts in Munich on Thursday. "We do not want to scale up with the fourth generation," he said.
The cost advantage between BMW's fourth- and fifth-generation EV technology amounts to a "two-digit number," Krueger said. "If you want to win the race, you must be the most cost competitive in the segment, otherwise you cannot scale up the volume," he said.
BMW unveiled its first EV, the i3, in 2013, and has been working on different generations of battery, software and electric motor technology since then.
In 2019, BMW will start making a full-electric Mini at its plant on the near Oxford, England. It will start production of a full-electric X3 SUV in 2020.
Earlier this week, BMW said it will increase research and development spending to 7 billion euros ($8.6 billion) this year as part of efforts to bring 25 electrified models to market by 2025. Half of those models will be fully electric with an all-electric range of up to 700 km (435 miles), it said.
It also showed its i4 electric sedan, which will rival the Tesla Model S.
Separately, Krueger said BMW has chosen Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) as its partner in China for battery cell production.