BMW CEO warns of an all-electric strategy


BMW CEO Oliver Zipse speaks during a visit by Germany’s Economics and Climate Protection Minister to the BMW factory in Munich, Germany January 20, 2022. REUTERS/Lukas Barth/ File Photo

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NEW YORK, April 14 (Reuters) – BMW (BMWG.DE) CEO Oliver Zipse said companies should be careful not to become too dependent on a few selected countries by focusing solely on electric vehicles, adding that there was still a market for cars with combustion engines.

“When you look at the technology that’s coming out, the push of electric vehicles, we have to be careful because at the same time you’re increasing dependency on very few countries,” Zipse said during a panel discussion at New York, pointing out that the supply of raw materials for batteries was controlled mainly by China.

“If someone can’t buy an electric vehicle for some reason but needs a car, would you rather suggest that they continue to drive their old car forever? If you no longer sell combustion engines, someone else will,” Zipse said.

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He has long argued against a total ban on sales of combustion engine cars in the face of growing pressure from regulators on the auto industry to reduce its carbon emissions and environmental impact.

Offering more fuel-efficient combustion-engined cars was critical from both a profit and environmental standpoint, Zipse argued, pointing to gaps in charging infrastructure and the high price of electric vehicles.

Businesses also need to plan for energy and raw material prices to stay high by being more efficient in their production and stepping up recycling efforts to cut costs, he said.

“We have a peak now, they may not stay at the peak, but they won’t come back to the old prices,” he said. “The amount of energy you need and use, as well as circularity, is important – for environmental reasons but even more so for economic reasons.”

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Reporting by Doyinsola Oladipo; Written by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Christoph Steitz and Mike Harrison

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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