Bugatti boss Stephan Winkelmann believes the internal combustion engine will remain the pinnacle of automotive for at least the next decade, until legislation forces even his company towards electrification.
When the day comes for an electrified Bugatti, “it will not just be for a push from the market but it will be the best in the market”, said Winkelmann, speaking in Los Angeles at a showing of the Bugatti Chiron, which recently set the speed record for a production car by travelling at almost 305mph. "[Until that day,] I see the internal combustion engine as having a considerable future," and that the company would continue to promote what he considers to be the very best, and truly cutting-edge, way of powering a car.
Winkelmann said that as well as showing the very best of combustion engine technology with its W16 unit, Bugatti would continue to be at the pinnacle of the automotive industry and “not just reduced to being about top speed”. He said: “The Chiron has much more than that. It’s acceleration, handling, a power to weight ratio, comfort, styling, beauty, and in time being a collector’s item”.
Winkelmann poured cold water on the suggestion of any imminent decision on a second model line for Bugatti, to join the Chiron. Despite suggestions that its plans for an SUV are well advanced, Winkelmann said that to have a second model Bugatti “needed the full support and the decision of the Volkswagen Group supervisory board”.
He added: “I hope it will happen and we will speak then. The VW Group has a lot on its plate with developing electrification, so we see some limits around budgets.”
While Bugatti is not yet ready to switch to electrification, it has announced plans in LA to offset its carbon emissions as a company. Winkelmann said that, collectively, there were fewer than 700 Chirons and Bugatti Veyrons on the road, and each did no more than 1000 miles a year. To offset those emissions, and those of all of Bugatti’s operations in various offices around the world, it would plant 4000 trees at the start of next year and each year to follow in partnership with a French environmental organisation. Its Molsheim factory will switch to only using clean gas and green electricity.