In an interview, BMW boss Oliver Zipse describes the planned ban on internal combustion engines from 2035 as “naive”. He argues that this makes the entire industry vulnerable to blackmail. However, his opinion on e-mobility is divided. But when it comes to decoupling from China, he is clear.

The Verbenner ban from 2035 has become an issue again, especially in the run-up to the European elections. In some cases there is hope that the ban can be “voted out”. In any case, BMW boss Oliver Zipse takes a hard line against the regulation.

“From our point of view, the introduction of this ban was naive,” he criticized in an interview with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (FAZ). BMW said this from the start and received a lot of backlash for its statements. But now many people’s eyes would “open”.

“Wanting to regulate markets on such a scale ultimately makes everything worse: the competitive position, the ecological impact and job security,” explains Zipse, calling what is currently happening “just a prelude. If the rules remained as they are, it would have striking consequences for the industrial base in Europe. According to our estimate, the value added in the automotive industry would be roughly halved – with a corresponding impact on employment.”

The BMW boss told the “FAZ” that an adjustment to the combustion engine ban is inevitable. “With the end in 2035, an entire industry has become open to blackmail,” says Zipse and explains why he sees it that way. “Every international competitor and every supplier knows that they are dependent on a single technology. In doing so, you undermine market mechanisms and, for example, make the raw materials required for this significantly more expensive.”

A reduction in CO2 emissions after 2035 must also be achieved differently, says Zipse. He also draws attention to the 250 million existing vehicles with combustion engines, which are “the main emitters but are not affected by the regulation at all”.

His solution: A more demanding CO2 target for fuels. The addition of low-CO2 or neutral fuels must be increased – but there are currently no legal requirements for this, says the BMW boss of the “FAZ”. “E-Fuels, E 25, HVO100, our engines have been designed for this for many years. Especially when it comes to the topic of HVO100, we receive a lot of inquiries from fleet operators who could use it to reduce the CO emissions of their fleet by 90 percent without major investments.”

Zipse is of mixed opinion when it comes to electromobility. BMW had already warned years ago about the purchase promotion in Germany, which has now ended. “The money would be better invested in charging infrastructure. But the end of the funding doesn’t worry us too much; in six months the market will have returned to normal.”

One problem is the issue of manufacturing: While combustion engines can now be manufactured entirely in Europe, most battery raw materials cannot be found in this country. In addition, Europe plays no role in the further processing and value chain. “Completely different from China, which has strategically positioned itself globally in this important sector. That won’t change significantly even in ten or 15 years. This is an economic policy aspect that cannot be ignored.”

When asked whether it was the same politicians who decided to ban combustion engines and are now calling for a decoupling from China, Zipse answered in the affirmative. “This is an absurdity,” criticizes the BMW boss. “This runs the risk that the trading partner will respond with countermeasures. Perhaps the availability of essential raw materials for electric vehicles will suddenly become more difficult. There is far too little thought here.”

In an interview with the “FAZ”, Zipse also does not see the criticism that cheap Chinese cars would flood the European market. “It used to be the worry about the Japanese, then the Koreans. And now it’s the Chinese. But their market share in Germany is currently 0.8 percent. You can’t seriously talk about ‘flooding’.”

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