By Doyinsola Oladipo
NEW YORK (Reuters) -BMW Chief Executive Officer Oliver Zipse said companies must be careful not to become too dependent on a select few countries by focusing only on electric vehicles, adding that there was still a market for combustion engine cars.
“When you look at the technology coming out, the EV push, we must be careful because at the same time, you increase dependency on very few countries,” Zipse said at a roundtable in New York, highlighting that the supply of raw materials for batteries was controlled mostly by China.
“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? If you are not selling combustion engines anymore, someone else will,” said Zipse.
He has long advocated against all-out bans on combustion engine car sales in the face of rising pressure from regulators on the auto industry to curb its carbon emissions and environmental impact.
Offering more fuel-efficient combustion engine cars was key both from a profit perspective and an environmental perspective, Zipse argued, pointing to gaps in charging infrastructure and the high price of electric vehicles.
Companies also needed to plan for energy prices and raw materials to remain high by being more efficient in their production and stepping up recycling efforts to keep costs down, he said.
“We have a peak now, they might not stay at the peak, but they will not go back to former prices,” he said. “How much energy you need and use, and circularity, is important – for environmental reasons but even more for economic reasons.”
(Reporting by Doyinsola Oladipo; Writing by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Christoph Steitz and Mike Harrison)