BMW chief attacks petrol and diesel car ban amid chaotic rush to electric vehicles

A BMW charging

BMW already has strong electric vehicle sales

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 13/11/2023

- 10:58

Updated: 05/03/2024

- 16:51

The chief said he wanted drivers to spend money with the brand for a vehicle that suits them

BMW’s head of sustainability has said the decision to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles is wrong and not the correct solution to meet net zero emissions.

Most countries and car makers have set firm deadlines to restrict the sale of internal combustion engines in a bid to prioritise and roll out the transition to electric vehicles at a greater pace.

In September, the Prime Minister announced that the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and bans would be moved from 2030 to 2035.

He said this was a necessary move to help the upfront cost of electric vehicles fall, as well as to develop the national charging infrastructure further.

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Bosses at BMW have previously warned against phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles, with the brand refusing to give a firm date as to when the brand will stop production of ICE vehicles.

Dr. Thomas Becker added that BMW hadn’t supported the move to ban the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles from the start, stating that the brand was “critical towards banning”.

He said: “We want people to spend a lot of money on our products because they say ‘It’s the best product for me’. Because they want it and not because they have to.

“Why is there this total focus in the policy debate about ‘When do I force the last customer who may buy an ICE car to go for an electric or take one of the ICE cars that are already there?’

“Wouldn’t it make more sense to say: ‘How can we get from 30 to 40 [per cent of sales, for instance] the fastest way possible?,” The Times reported.

Becker, who has been with the company for more than 15 years, called on policymakers to focus on incremental targets over the coming years.

These targets would be in place instead of any blanket bans to restrict the sale of certain vehicles that are more than a decade away.

Thomas Becker continued, saying: “[The target] is grounded in a market assessment of what we get from our customers and we will stick to that. So, there is no revision of this objective.”

BMW already has a range of popular electric vehicles including the i3, i4, i5 and i7 models.

The Munich-based brand aims to ensure that every second car that rolls off its production lines will be fully battery electric by the end of the decade.

In October, almost 3,500 new BMW 1 Series models were registered, making it the fifth best-selling vehicle in the UK last month.

BMW announced that third-quarter sales of its EVs were up 80 per cent compared to the same quarter last year – representing 15 per cent of all cars sold.

Carmakers in Europe have been calling for more research and development to be done when looking at the viability of synthetic fuels.

These e-fuels could help to continue the production of the vehicles with an internal combustion engine, manufacturers argue.


Dr Thomas Becker\u200b

Dr Thomas Becker says other approaches are needed to bring emissions down


Measures have been taken to allow for the development of e-fuels while the general public makes the transition to electric vehicles.

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