“Our aim is to be the technology leader. We can offer automated driving on the motorway up to 120 kilometers per hour. But our technology must be 100 percent reliable. In the app industry, you can launch products on the market that are 70 to 80 percent ready and then complete their development with the customer. That is absolutely impossible with safety features in a car.”
This is BMW CEO Harald Krüger’s response when asked whether Tesla is ahead in automated driving technology. Essentially, he downplays the Autopilot to an app. Does that mean he thinks of Tesla as a software company?
“I don’t want to be like the last horse and buggy salesman who was holding out as cars took over the roads. I don’t want to be the last investor in Blockbuster as Netflix emerged. That’s exactly what is going to happen to fossil fuels.”
“My typical response is that if the worry is range, that can be overcome through a combination of using the right technology, whether that is the vehicle or the charger, and ensuring you have the correct utilisation of the vehicle. It’s an operational issue rather than a barrier that can’t be overcome from a technology point of view.”
Denis Naberezhnykh, head of ultra-low emission vehicles for Transport Research Laboratory, says that fleet operators need to understand what they are using their vehicles for and then have a selection of ULEVs – probably a combination of plug-in hybrids, range-extended EVs and pure EVs.
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