Image by BMW Group

On Thursday, BMW Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse stated that automakers need to recognize that combustion engine vehicles are still in demand despite their aggressive push toward full electrification of their lineups. He said that due to the high costs of EVs and charging infrastructure limitations, producing combustion engine vehicles that offer more fuel efficiency would be “key, both from a profit perspective and an environmental perspective.”

Zipse also said that automakers would inevitably “increase dependency on very few countries” for the technologies required for EV production and specifically mentioned that China plays a significant role in supplying raw materials necessary for EV battery manufacturing. He also cited the continuing high prices of energy and materials and said companies need to find ways to utilize existing supplies and recycle them as efficiently as possible. 

When discussing current prices, he stated, “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.” 

In the roundtable discussion, the CEO also posed the question, “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?” Ultimately, he said he feels there is still a market for combustion engine vehicles and that if companies completely stop selling them, “someone else will.”

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