In an interview with Handelsblatt’s business newspaper, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse warned that Europe’s focus on electric vehicles (EVs) may make the continent susceptible to blackmail from resource suppliers.
Zipse noted that electric vehicles (EVs) rely heavily on international supply chains for crucial raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel, making Europe susceptible to price volatility and supply disruptions, according to him.
Zipse stated, “That’s why a political decision to end combustion engines would be reckless. An exit decision without concurrent entry-strategy for alternative engines would leave us vulnerable and at the mercy of others.”
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Zipse also suggested that Europe’s low acceptance of new domestic mining projects makes securing raw materials needed for electric vehicles even more challenging.
“Europe needs an open dialogue about mining,” he stated, adding that they could no longer rely on other nations to provide the required resources.
Zipse’s warning comes when the European Union is taking steps to phase out the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2035; according to them, electric vehicles (EVs) are essential in meeting climate goals.
“We must remain realistic about the challenges ahead,” Zipse stated, adding: “We can’t afford to make decisions which could leave us vulnerable in the future.
The EU and German governments have addressed the raw materials issue for electric vehicles (EVs). The former issued an action plan designed to secure critical raw material supplies, while Germany announced plans for investments in domestic mining and recycling.
However, whether these measures will protect Europe from becoming dependent upon foreign suppliers for raw materials needed for electric vehicles (EVs) remains to be seen.
Zipse’s warning is a timely reminder of the risks inherent to Europe’s move toward electric vehicles (EVs). To ensure an orderly transition, raw materials essential for manufacturing them must remain available – otherwise, severe economic and environmental repercussions could ensue.