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BMW unveils a new electric car, but says it isn’t counting out gas engines just yet

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BMW President Oliver Zipse said at an online press conference that the company will continue to develop, build and sell cars with internal combustion engines, including plug-in hybrids.

“If there are no customers [for these vehicles] in our 140 markets, we will stop producing them, ”he said.

The BMW i4 will be available in versions that offer a driving range of up to 300 miles.

BMW’s strategy has long been to maintain flexibility in its engineering as it develops new vehicles so that its factories can change quickly and easily from the production of purely internal combustion cars to the production of plug-in or electric hybrid vehicles as market demand changes. The underlying engineering architectures for BMW vehicles are designed to facilitate their construction with electric, hybrid or purely internal combustion energy.

“We’re a lot more flexible than the world thinks we are,” Zipse said.

BMW released few details about its new i4 electric sedan, beyond the images from the outside. It is a four-door car with a profile similar to that of the 4 Series oil engine. It will be available in versions with up to approximately 300 miles of estimated US EPA range and can produce up to 530 horsepower.

Last November, BMW introduced the iX, an all-electric SUV for the top model of the brand’s “i” electric vehicle sub-brand. The iX is expected to go into production later this year. The i4 is also expected to go on sale in Europe later this year and in the United States early next year, a BMW spokesman said.

BMW will offer electric models in 90% of the market segments in which it competes in 2023, the company said in an announcement. By 2030, the company expects about half of its global sales to be electric vehicles.

But there is at least one brand in the BMW Group that runs all electric. BMW’s Mini division will only offer electric cars in the mid-2030s, the company announced.

Mini mini cars, which often travel short distances in urban environments, are well-suited for electric vehicle buyers, Zipse said. Currently, Mini offers a fully electric model, the Mini Cooper SE. A next-generation version of the Mini Countryman SUV, which will go into production in 2023, will also be available in an electric version.

BMW also owns Rolls-Royce, the British ultra-luxury brand that sells cars like the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Phantom, which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are no plans to turn Rolls-Royce into an electric-only brand, but an electric model will soon arrive, Zipse said.

“There will be an electric Rolls-Royce in this decade and probably not later in this decade,” Zipse said.

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