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.