BMW Board Chair Olive Zipse blasted plans to phase out gas-powered vehicles by a specific date. He maintains the move will remove “cheap cars” from the market, putting vehicle ownership out of reach for many people, and could be politically dangerous.
BMW has not set a date to end production of gas powered vehicles, he said in an interview.
“We don’t want cars to be taken away out of the base segment, politically that’s super dangerous,” Zipse told Reuters. “If you suddenly make car ownership only for rich people, it’s a dangerous thing.”
That said, Zipse noted BMW backs ambitious vehicle regulations. But he warned that setting a firm date to end combustion engine sales could cause people to continue “to drive their old cars - and that is not what we want.”
Zipse told a crowd at BMW’s announcement of a $1.7 billion electric vehicle (EV) investment in South Carolina that “it’s a free nation -- we offer choice and not limitations.” He noted “there is no signal” that the combustion engine will be obsolete on a global scale within 15 years.
He then said, “as a politician, I would be mega-careful... because you’re taking away cars by regulation.” But he stressed that BMW will be ready to meet any regulations mandating only zero-emission models and will “have enough cars.”
President Joe Biden has called for 50% of all new vehicle sales by 2030 to be EVs or plug-in hybrids, but has not endorsed a phase-out date for internal combustion engines.
BMW forecasts that 50% of its sales by 2030 to will be zero-emission vehicles and will double EV sales this year. “It’s a mixture between regulation, customer sentiment and product,” Zipse said. “The market is there and it’s growing.”