Dr Alexander Kotouc will take to the stage at next week’s Global Superyacht Forum in a keynote presentation entitled ‘Smart, Sustainable Mobility’. Kotouc currently oversees the current and future product portfolio of the BMW i brand, including the BMW i8 hybrid sports car and the all-electric BMW i3. Having been chosen as the Dow Jones Sustainability index automotive leader for eight years, it is no surprise that these vehicles are leaders in their field, pushing the boundaries of what is to be expected of an electric car.

With more technology now focused on sustainability and ‘green’ options, the luxury industry – yachting included – has at times been resistant to these changes. Kotouc believes, however, that BMW i are turning this impression around. “We strongly consider sustainability as a factor becoming more and more decisive for premium buyers,’ he notes, with buying patterns changing considerably in this luxury sector, “Around 85% of all BMW i3 customers are new to the BMW brand, meaning they hadn’t taken a traditional BMW into account.”

To Kotouc, there is no question of the future of sustainable technologies within the automotive industry, “We will see electric propulsion systems overtaking the traditional petrol and diesel engine within the next 25 to 30 years.” Indeed, BMW i’s latest concept is the iNext, is an “all-connected iconic vehicle with autonomous driving capabilities and an even higher level of sustainability throughout.”

For Kotouc, the future for ‘green’ transport shouldn’t be restricted to adaptions on original cars to curtail pollution, but re-evaluating the entire process of designing, engineering and using transport, “Sustainability for us means more than just cars without an exhaust pipe. Our target is to avoid emissions even in the production process and supply chain. We call this “Holistic Sustainability.”

BMW i are spearheading sustainable automotive development and the key to their success? Looking at the emotional side of driving, “Sustainability has traditionally lacked emotional appeal. Therefore, we put a strong focus at BMW i as progressive, an aspirational design and driving pleasure.” It is here where the automotive and yachting markets have strong ties, with many owners citing their pure love of the yachting world as their commitment to the industry. Perhaps it is in this vein that yachting must drive forward sustainability, or as Kotouc notes, “Sustainability sells when it appeals to your heart, not just your brain...”

Therefore, what can attendees expect from Kotouc’s session next week? “Inspiration for our world of tomorrow, and that sustainability does not mean sacrifice.”

Registration for the Global Superyacht Forum, held from 14 – 16 November is still open. Click here for more information.

Images courtesy of BMW i and TEDXTaiPei