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BMW to Discontinue All Diesel Models in the U.S. by 2019

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【Summary】German automaker BMW is making the shift towards battery-powered technology and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). A spokesman for the automaker said the company will discontinue all diesel models for the U.S. market by 2019.

Eric Walz    Sep 11, 2018 4:21 PM PT
BMW to Discontinue All Diesel Models in the U.S. by 2019
author: Eric Walz   

German automaker BMW is making the shift towards battery-powered technology and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). A spokesman for the automaker said the company will discontinue all diesel models for the U.S. market by 2019.

At a press event in Atlanta for the all-new X5, a BMW spokesman Alex Schmuck told The Car Connection "We are putting all our eggs in the PHEV basket."

PHEVs have a traditional internal combustion engine that is assisted by an electric motor. The vehicle's engine and on-board generator charge the battery while driving to keep it charged. These vehicles car be charged with a standard 110V wall outlet. Unlike a fully-electric vehicle, a PHEV has limited range from just battery power alone, something BMW is looking to improve.

The range of BMW's PHEVs is around 16 mpg on battery power alone, according to EPA estimates. However, BMW continues to improve its hybrid-electric technology. BMW revealed a new plug-in version of the X5 for 2021, the X5 xDrive45e, which may have up to 50 miles of electric range made possible by bigger batteries and a newly designed engine.

The decision by BMW to discontinue diesel models might not have much impact on overall sales. The demand for diesel-powered vehicles has been on the decline in the U.S., especially after the Volkswagen ‘dieselgate' scandal, where the company admitted to tampering with its diesel software in order to falsify emission test results. The recall of VW's diesel cars affected around 300,000 vehicles and the company paid over $25 billion in fines.

In Europe, diesel models are still popular but demand is expected to fall in favor of PHEVs and battery-powered vehicles, just like it has in the U.S. A recent study by AlixPartners predicts that diesels will comprise just 9 percent of the European market by 2030. This is partly due to tougher new emissions standards.

The move by BMW means that no German automaker will offer diesel models in the U.S. Rival automaker Mercedes Benz, announced in January that it would stop selling diesel models in the U.S. due to lack of interest. As a result of the fallout from the dieselgate scandal, VW, Audi and Porsche no longer offer diesel models in the U.S. and is focusing instead on electric and PHEV models.

BMW introduced its first diesel model to the U.S. in 1985 with short-lived 524td. At the time, It was the fastest, most powerful diesel vehicle offered.  In 2004, the BMW 535d became the first car to feature an inline-six diesel with Sequential Twin Turbo Technology producing 413 ft lbs of torque.

BMW currently sells five plug-in hybrid models in the U.S., including the 3-Series, 5-Series, 7-Series sedans, the X5 SUV.

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