BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse is not a fan of banning internal combustion engines, and he's made his position clear several times in the past.
In early February, the executive told a group of politicians in Germany that phasing out the combustion engine must happen gradually, adding that giving up on ICEs too soon would hurt BMW's and other German automakers' global market share and wouldn't "help the climate or anyone else."
Speaking at a media roundtable at the New York International Auto Show last week, Oliver Zipse once again touched on this topic. He said there was still a market for combustion engine cars, warning that companies should not become too dependent on a select few countries by focusing only on electric vehicles. He also highlighted the fact that China controls most of the supply of raw materials for electric vehicle batteries.
"When you look at the technology coming out, the EV push, we must be careful because at the same time, you increase dependency on very few countries. If someone cannot buy an EV for some reason but needs a car, would you rather propose he continues to drive his old car forever? If you are not selling combustion engines anymore, someone else will."
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According to Zipse, offering more fuel-efficient combustion engine cars is key both from a profit perspective and an environmental perspective. He pointed to gaps in charging infrastructure and the high price of electric vehicles as obstacles in the path of electric vehicles dominating the global market.
The BMW CEO believes companies also need to plan for high energy prices and raw materials by being more efficient in their production and accelerating recycling efforts to keep costs down.
"We have a peak now, they might not stay at the peak, but they will not go back to former prices. How much energy you need and use, and circularity, is important - for environmental reasons but even more for economic reasons."
Oliver Zipse has long opposed all-out bans on combustion engine car sales as regulators increase the pressure on the auto industry to reduce its carbon emissions and environmental impact. He is an advocate of letting market demand decide whether the internal combustion engine still has a future as automakers continuously improve this technology to make it more environmentally friendly.