Many automakers are in a rush to announce the end of combustion engines, but BMW isn't in such a hurry. During a presentation at the Rhine-Main Business Initiative in Frankfurt, CEO Oliver Zipse defended the company's decision to stick with "old-school" engines.

German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) quotes BMW's head honcho saying the luxury brand doesn't "want to write off the combustion engine." The 59-year-old executive explained that refusing to set an expiration date for the ICE doesn't reflect the brand's lack of initiative: "Openness to technology is not a backlog of decisions."

2024 BMW M3 CS

He went on to mention that it's wrong to "talk down products that are still on offer" and touched on the subject of synthetic fuels. Because there are more than one billion cars in the world, Zipse argues that the importance of existing gas vehicles is underestimated. According to automotive industry research firm Hedges & Company, there are roughly 1.4 billion cars scattered around the globe.

Replacing each and every existing ICE with an EV in a short timeframe isn't feasible, and manufacturing a new electric car isn't eco-friendly either. Consequently, the CEO believes "e-fuels are also important" to keep existing cars running without harming the environment. Toyota, BMW's partner in developing hydrogen tech, thinks it can save the ICE by making it run on hydrogen.

2024 BMW M3 CS

The top brass at BMW argued that if sales of new cars with combustion engines will be banned, many people are just going to keep their existing ICE vehicles for longer. Why? Because electric vehicles are still more expensive than their gasoline/diesel counterparts, and there are plenty of people around the world who can't pay the premium. In addition, various company officials have previously said the charging infrastructure is not ready to support an influx of EVs in all parts of the world.

That's not to say BMW is favoring combustion engines over EVs. This year, the company has set an objective for zero-emission vehicles to account for 15 percent of total deliveries. By the end of the decade, the Munich-based marque projects one in two cars it will sell isn't going to have an ICE.

BMW's main rivals have set loftier goals. Mercedes believes it can go purely electric as early as 2030 "where market conditions allow." From 2026, Audi is only going to launch EVs and will end production of ICE cars in 2032. Jaguar will go electric-only much sooner, from 2025. Volvo is going to abandon combustion engines in 2030 when the BMW Group's MINI and Rolls-Royce will do the same.

Gallery: 2024 BMW M3 CS

Got a tip for us? Email: