He believes that forcing automakers to adopt battery-electric technology will hinder innovation.
Mazda Europe's CEO is the latest automotive bigwig to speak out against the 2035 ban on ICE-powered vehicles in several EU countries.
Martijn ten Brink told Top Gear that, personally, he struggles with the ban and finds it rather frustrating. His issue with it doesn't stem from a dislike of electric vehicles. Rather, the CEO takes issue with the fact that a choice has been made for emissions-free technology (battery electric) and that this could hinder innovation.
"What I find a shame is that we have made a choice for technology, and usually the most innovation comes when you set a goal but you don't tell engineers and developers how to get there."
It's the lawmakers and politicians that ten Brink takes issue with. "I have a problem with the fact that they've (the politicians) decided how to get there. And that is only electric. You're really going to just discard everything else? Even the stuff that you don't know exists yet?"
"I think that is a disgrace of the politicians," added Mazda Europe's CEO. "That is not their job. Their job is to demand a zero-emission future, but how you get there should rely on entrepreneurship and creativity."
Toyota executives have expressed similar frustrations and, despite attracting plenty of criticism, the automaker has doubled down on its stance. Instead of building one electric car, it says, why not build more hybrids and PHEVs? Toyota has also said it believes battery-electric vehicles aren't the only solution, and it continues to explore hydrogen as a potential energy source.
The Mazda Europe boss has said the automaker will be ready for any legislation, meaning it will have to make haste in the electric vehicle race, and that won't be easy considering that Mazda only sells one EV, that being the MX-30. However, ten Brink says forcing manufacturers to use battery-electric tech as the solution means investments in other areas will dry up.
"I think that's a big mistake. I think selling only zero-emission vehicles by 2035 is fine, but that they have to be electric with batteries I think is a bit of a shame. Personal opinion."
BMW's Oliver Zipse has also spoken out against an outright ban on ICE vehicles, but for different reasons. "It would be harmful to simply give up a technology in which you have a global market position," he said at the time.
Like Mazda, the German automaker has said it will be ready for any legislation and offer vehicles to suit the needs of various customers.
Join The Discussion