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BMW CEO wants a delay in EU combustion engine phaseout plans

An EU effort to only allow the sale of zero emissions vehicles from 2035 should be delayed as it will end up boosting reliance on raw material imports from third countries, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse told POLITICO.

“To commit to a 2035 target of 100 percent [fleetwide emissions reduction] would be a very dangerous thing,” said Zipse, who is currently president of Brussels-based car lobby ACEA.

He called for a target date of 2040 at the earliest and for policymakers to make the final call later this decade instead of this year.

The Commission proposal — which is still being debated by Parliament and member countries — would ban the sale of new combustion engine vehicles, amounting to a mandate to sell only battery-powered ones. But that would boost demand for raw materials needed in batteries like cobalt, nickel, lithium and manganese — a lot of which comes from outside the bloc.

“Especially for electric vehicles, the raw materials are to a large extent not sourced in Europe,” Zipse said.

Those materials have shot up in price, in part thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and more expensive batteries will boost the price of EVs, Zipse warned.

But his caution comes as momentum grows to accept the Commission’s 2035 proposal. As first reported by POLITICO, Germany’s Environment Minister Steffi Lemke confirmed this week that Berlin would support it.

The BMW boss also said the EU must make sure there is enough charging infrastructure to accommodate a surge in EV sales.

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