BMW has timed its shift to electric cars well and its upcoming products will reverse the perception the automaker is behind on electrification and could make its stock compete with the likes of Tesla, its top executive said.
"There is a perception that we took a break, but we actually didn't take a break," CEO Oliver Zipse told Reuters as part of a series of boardroom interviews entitled "Delivering Net Zero."
"We waited for the moment when electromobility is really getting into higher volumes," Zipse said.
Automakers are racing to develop electric cars amid tightening CO2 emission standards in Europe and China.
BMW says it expects half of its sales to be fully-electric models by 2030, which is seen as a more conservative approach than rivals such as Volkswagen, which has seen its stock lifted by ambitious electrification plans.
VW has developed its own electric vehicle platform from the ground up. Next month Daimler will unveil the EQS flagship electric sedan, its first Mercedes-Benz model on a dedicated electric platform.
BMW currently builds combustion engine, hybrid and electric models on shared platforms. Critics say shared platforms compromise the performance of electric vehicles. It will launch its New Class electric-focused platform in 2025. The platform is designed to be fully electric but will also underpin cars with gasoline and diesel internal combustion engines, including plug-in hybrids.
"If you look at what's happening in the market with these (dedicated electric) platforms, the cars all look alike," Zipse said. "BMW serves very specific, high-paying customers, I think they don't want cars who all look alike."
Zipse said he expects the European Union will further tighten its CO2 emission targets for 2030.
He said the bloc should not overreach on so-called Euro 7 car emissions proposals for pollutants including nitrous oxide and lung-damaging particulate matter due this year - Germany's auto industry says some proposals under consideration could effectively combustion engines from 2025.
"We should do it in a reasonable way to keep the combustion engine alive" because engine improvements will help reach climate goals, he said.
Zipse said BMW's market cap of around 55 billion euros ($64.7 billion) is lower than its assets of around 60 billion euros. "Something is wrong there," he said. "That would assume that you don't have a future."
Asked if BMW could become a "story stock" like electric automaker Tesla, Zipse said: "Of course we can."