Most of the auto industry is undergoing a massive shift away from fossil fuels, but BMW CEO Oliver Zipse says his company "has no plans to stop developing internal combustion engines." This statement comes only a day after rival Audi's boss Marcus Duesman declared that they've already stopped developing ICEs.
Duesman made the statement in an interview with Germany's Automobilwoche, citing upcoming Euro 7 emission standards that he called (translated from German) "a huge technical challenge." Instead, Audi will adapt its current ICEs to meet those standards. Interestingly, he also claimed the Euro 7 standards "have little benefit for the environment."
Meanwhile, BMW made a sweeping announcement yesterday about new electric models and the fact that BMW-owned Mini would be electric-only by 2030, debuting its last ICE model in 2025. Still, head honcho Zipse told CNBC's Phil LeBeau it wasn't finished with internal combustion "because demand for ICE vehicles will remain robust for many years to come." With that said, BMW does expect half of its car sales to be electric by 2030.
Back in 2019, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler's head of development Markus Schäfer told Auto Motor und Sport that there were no plans for new ICEs, but would not rule out restarting work on them in the future.
Obviously all automakers are facing the same emissions standards, and some will face the technological challenges better than others. Perhaps BMW sees room for both ICEs and EVs at the table. Or, the fact that it may have some new technology it plans to unleash to make its ICEs compliant is not entirely off the table. Other carmakers like Mazda have been able to come up with innovations like its Spark Controlled Compression Ignition in its SkyActiv-X engines that, while still internal combustion, burn much cleaner and more efficiently than traditional ones. Porsche, Audi and Mazda have been exploring so-called eFuels as a cleaner power source for ICEs as well.
Whatever the case may be, traditionalists can still rest easy in the fact that ICE BMWs will still be around for the forseeable future. Now if only they made more traditional-looking cars.