BMW CEO Oliver Zipse believes phasing out the combustion engine too soon will not be of benefit to the environment, or anyone else for that matter. Zipse told a group of politicians at a closed-door meeting in the Bundestag that the most popular powertrain is still by far the combustion engine and therefore its phaseout must be a gradual and planned process:
“The largest market segment in absolute terms by a wide margin in Germany, but also in Europe and worldwide, is the internal combustion engine. Before you simply shut something like that down within eight or ten years, you have to know well what you’re doing.
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 in the world market as well. That’s why we also warn against doing this too early and not giving the transformation a chance to develop with the markets. It would be harmful to simply give up a technology in which you have a global market position without need. I don’t think that would help the climate or anyone else.”
BMW is still at the forefront when it comes to traditional premium automakers and EVs thanks to its i brand. A pioneer in the field with the launch of the all-electric i3 and PHEV i8 back in 2013, BMW has more recently launched the fully electric i4 sedan, iX3 crossover and iX SUV.
However, it's clear the company is not giving up on the combustion engine just yet. Hence BMW is developing next-generation petrol and diesel engines which promise to be more efficient. The firm will clearly look to sell ICE vehicles alongside its all-electric offerings for several more years to come.