Potential taxation issues concerning vehicle electric power generation must be urgently addressed, according to BMW’s sales and marketing head speaking to just-auto in Munich.

The organisation of Oil Producing Export Countries (OPEC) is meeting in Vienna today (17 March) to discuss output levels and with forecourt petrol prices causing widespread discussion, energy taxation levels in the transportation sector – especially in relation to EVs – are very high on vehicle manufacturers’ agendas.

Speaking to just-auto at the German automaker’s Welt facility in Munich, BMW board member for sales and marketing Ian Robertson said EV purchasers needed to know what any future taxation level on electricity could be.

“We have said to a couple of government ministers it would be helpful if industry and consumers could know if there would be a tax on electricity,” said Robertson.

“[Some] 75% of the cost of gasoline is tax. If the industry goes down this road, there will be a hole, so it will come, so how do you tax it [electricity]?”

Robertson also highlighted the increasing importance of adopting common electric vehicle charging standards as vital to the industry.

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“We are a long way away from standardisation in Europe – we don’t have common electricity standards,” added Robertson. “There is a wise way to do it and that is to find a way of metering tied to some form of infrastructure.

“It would be nice to have something of a common plug standard, so we could  work with a plug in Europe, Asia and the US.”

Robertson noted the perception of electric vehicles was “very different” from reality but expressed the hope that policy makers could have a large influence on development of the sector.

“We are keeping the spirit of BMW but pushing the market forward,” he said. “We have the largest electrical fleet running around. We have a good technical lead on a lot of companies.”

BMW is currently testing its Mini E produced in the Leipzig plant in a number of markets.

The BMW sales chief’s EV comments came in the same week as top Japanese manufacturers announced a CHAdeMO collaboration with the Tokyo Electric Power Company to drive the adoption of non-combustion propulsion.

Simon Warburton