BMW CEO Oliver Zipse recently shared a warning about the auto sector’s impending retirement of the internal combustion engine. According to the executive, a premature end to the internal combustion engine would not be preferable, and it probably won’t be good for the environment either.
Zipse’s comments were shared during a closed-door meeting of the CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag. As noted in an Automobilwoche report, the CEO was firm in the idea that it would be unwise to abandon ICE technologies too soon. The following were Zipse’s comments (translated using DeepL Translator):
“The largest market segment in absolute terms by a wide margin in Germany, but also in Europe and worldwide, is the internal combustion engine. Before you simply shut something like that down within eight or ten years, you have to know well what you’re doing.
“If you try to ban this technology in Germany and Europe, but the world market is not even that far, you will lose this technology in the world market as well. That’s why we also warn against doing this too early and not giving the transformation a chance to develop with the markets. It would be harmful to simply give up a technology in which you have a global market position without need. I don’t think that would help the climate or anyone else,” Zipse said.
The shift of the auto market towards full electric vehicles is becoming more and more evident, with companies like Tesla seeing massive growth over the years and veteran carmakers like Volkswagen investing heavily in pure battery-electric vehicles. Just recently, VW announced that it had completed the transformation of its Zwickau plant from an ICE production facility into an EV manufacturing site. Other German automakers such as Porsche and Audi are also seeing some success in their respective electric vehicle programs.
Interestingly enough, BMW also has several EVs in development, though the company has also noted that there will still be a place for combustion engines in its lineup for years to come. This is evident in BMW’s current initiatives, some of which include the development of next-generation petrol and diesel engines that are far more efficient than their predecessors.
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