Last week BMW announced their new sustainable mobility brand, BMW i. I guess the board of BMW were nervous about committing the ultimate driving machine to a 'green' future, hence the halfway house of the 'i' sub-brand. Plus ca change.
I often feel a sense of frustration at the way the VMs (vehicle manufacturers) present themselves and their products as green, ecological and good for the planet, when they are plainly anything but. This is balanced however by the acceptance that the emerging crop of pure electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and range extended vehicles, for all their greenwash, soundbites and over the top eco-imagery, are offering us an order of magnitude improvement compared to our choices on the forecourt just 12 months ago.
Probably the most important statement to come out of the German headquarters last week was not the slick video voice over claiming that with BMW i a new movement has been borne (really?) - but that 100 miles is sufficient range for an electric car.
That's more like it.
The manufacturers have done such a superb job of persuading us that if we truly value our freedom then we really do need a big, heavy, powerful, 4 wheel drive SUV to collect that pint of milk from the corner shop. They are now going to have to work bloody hard to change our way of thinking, and they are feeling a little nervous about the task ahead. After all, they still have a lot of conventional cars to sell and therein lies the problem. It is not in their interests to do too good a job in persuading us that we must now abandon the products that sustain them.
Meanwhile, the rest of us should continue to jog alongside and push them to do exactly that.