Twilight of combustion engine comes for Germany

The completed combustion engine fitted into a BMW M5 is a 1,200-piece puzzle that weighs more than 181 kg (400 pounds).

There are about 150 moving parts whose interlocking precision can catapult a six-figure sports car to 97 kph (60 mph) in 3.3 seconds.

The engine under the bright lights of the vast BMW factory hall in Dingolfing, Germany, has come together from a web of hundreds of suppliers and many, many hands.

The electric-vehicle motor produced in the same factory is different in almost every respect: light enough for a single person to lift, with just two dozen parts in total, and lacking an exhaust, transmission, or fuel tank. The battery cells themselves are mostly an industrial commodity, products bought in bulk from someone else. No one brags about the unique power of BMW’s electric drivetrain.

Yet, this slight battery-driven motor can outgun the combustion engine in BMW’s fastest performance car from a standstill at a traffic light.

BMW i3 120Ah (Image: BMW Group)

BMW i3 120Ah (Image: BMW Group)

The fact that both combustion engines and electric motors find themselves inside the same 18,000-person complex in Dingolfing, BMW’s largest in Europe, makes it a microcosm of a shift overtaking automakers the world over.

A visitor can see that 625-hp engine–more than twice as powerful as the original from 1985, a luxury product relentlessly branded as “the ultimate driving machine” — then walk around the corner and see its small electric replacement. You start thinking the better slogan might be “the ultimate combustion engine.” As in: last of its kind.

Read more: Autonews

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