BMW to phase out fossil-fuel burning engines from main plant by 2024


FILE PHOTO: A BMW i4 of the German luxury carmaker is seen during the company's annual news conference in Munich, Germany, March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

BERLIN (Reuters) - BMW will stop making internal combustion engines at its main plant in Munich by 2024, its head of production said on Friday at a conference marking the start of production of its electric i4 model.

The ICE engines currently made in Munich will be produced in BMW's factories in Austria and the UK in future, production chief Milan Nedeljkovic said, though cars using the engines will still be assembled at the Munich plant.

Still, by 2023 at least half the vehicles produced in Munich would be electrified - either battery electric or plug-in hybrid, the company said.

BMW has set itself a target for at least 50% of new global car sales to be electric by 2030, and CEO Oliver Zipse said at a conference last week the company would be ready with an all-electric offering if any market banned ICEs by then.

The i4 battery-electric car was made on a joint assembly line with ICE and hybrid models such as the BMW 3 Series Sedan and Touring, the company said, a shift that cost 200 million euros ($233 million) of investment in production infrastructure.

A similar mixed assembly line is already under way at the automaker's Dingolfing plant, which produces the BMW iX alongside hybrid and ICE models.

The new model will be prioritised in decision-making over where to allocate scarce chips, the plant chief Peter Weber said. The company was well-stocked in other raw materials, Nedeljkovic added.

BMW has previously said it expects to produce 70,000 to 90,000 fewer cars than it could have sold this year because of the chip shortage that has plagued automakers worldwide.

It also committed to reducing emissions from transport logistics at the Munich plant, the company's biggest, to zero in the next few years, without giving a specific date.

This will be achieved by making greater use of rail transport and battery-powered trucks to transport vehicles in and around the plant, it said.

(This story corrects to state that internal combustion engines, not cars, will be phased out from Munich plant)

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Mark Potter and Nick Macfie)

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