Oliver Zipse isn't ready to say goodbye to gasoline engines just yet.
Pressure from environmental groups and governments across the world has placed carmakers in a rather precarious situation: adapt to electromobility or die. In fact, many companies have pledged to stop selling internal combustion-engined (ICE) cars by 2030. Even boutique carmakers are setting themselves lofty goals, with BAC recently announcing its ambitious plans for the future.
BMW has certainly appeared to be one of the companies in the lead, offering a host of electrified vehicles that clearly appeal to consumers, if the latest sales figures are anything to go by. What's more, it's even taken to ending production of the V12 found in the range-topping 7 Series - and yet, the company's CEO has recently warned that banning combustion engines will be a very big mistake.
According to Automobilewoche, Oliver Zipse has said the global market is not ready for a world without ICE engines. His bold claims were made during a meeting with the German political party, Christian Social Union at the nation's federal parliament. He warned that a potential ban on the sale of cars powered by traditional engines would hinder the automotive industry.
"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 on the world market. Therefore, we warn against this [happening] too early and not giving [enough time] for the transformation to [occur] in [other] markets." Zipse clearly believes the combustion engine still has a future, noting the electric revolution is happening too quickly for other markets to adapt and catch up with.
"It would be harmful to simply give up a technology in which you have a global market position. I don't think that would help the climate or anyone else," he added.
While the boss of BMW may be critical of the ICE ban, the German luxury carmaker is one of the leading brands when it comes to embracing electromobility. This year, the i3 electric car is ending production after nine years, but the i4, iX, and in other markets, the iX3 and forthcoming i7 and iX7 are all standing by to pick up the baton.
Last year, Zipse told reporters BMW will be ready for the combustion engine ban, with a model catering for any region and its specific needs. "The BMW Group is not worried about this. Whether it's a good idea is another question… but we will have an offering."
While other carmakers have pledged to become fully electric by 2030 or sell only battery-powered cars in Europe, BMW has not announced anything of the sort just yet. While controversial, the outspoken CEO does make plenty of sense. We only hope lawmakers can see his point.