BMW CEO Lashes Out Against Unrealistic Euro 7 Emissions Regulations

BMW CEO Lashes Out Against Unrealistic Euro 7 Emissions Regulations
Industry News
May 2023

Oliver Zipse, the outspoken CEO of BMW, has delivered a scathing attack on the expected Euro 7 emissions regulations. The 59-year-old criticized the unrealistic testing environmental conditions, which he believes is putting immense pressure on automakers.

From July 2025, car manufacturers are expected to reduce NOx emissions by 35% and decrease particulates from the exhaust by as much as 13%. In his speech, delivered at the 103rd Annual General Meeting of BMW AG, he believes these regulations are "entirely unfeasible. Zipse added that the testing conditions represent unrealistic situations and force carmakers to deal with various problems.

"I think everyone can answer this for themselves: How often, for example, do you drive up a mountain pass, at full throttle, in minus seven degrees, in a car that is fully loaded and pulling a trailer? We are fighting for a sensible Euro 7 solution, which also effectively increases air quality in cities," said Zipse.

The CEO has previously spoken out against the new emissions tests and said they would emphasize driving conditions with little relevance to real-life motoring. One of the main requirements from the EU will force car manufacturers to focus on vehicle durability. Passenger vehicles and light vans must meet a so-called "emissions budget" for every trip under 6.2 miles.

This includes the cold start phase when combustion-engined vehicles emit more emissions than usual.

Zipse compared what's going on in Europe to the United States, where the Inflation Reduction Act encourages the adoption of electric vehicles. "In the US, the Inflation Reduction Act is being used by policymakers to promote climate protection and strengthen the domestic economy. In Europe, on the other hand, the European Commission is massively tightening the planned Euro 7 standard."

BMW's CEO says these regulations won't result in any air quality improvements. "I'm not going to beat about the bush: How it is planned right now is simply not going to work!" Zipse has also said the July 2025 start date is impractical.

Zipse has long advocated for the combustion engine and warned against a premature ban on ICE vehicles. It's not that BMW doesn't believe in alternative fuels and electric vehicles, but rather that gasoline-powered car are still very relevant in this day and age, particularly in markets and regions where EVs are still impractical.

Some thought leaders believe the Euro 7 regulations will actually harm the electric vehicle revolution. Ford Model E's Martin Sander said last year, "We should not be diverting resources to yesterday's technology and invest in zero-emission instead."

What he means here is that manufacturers shouldn't be using money on reducing emissions when it could be used on EV development.

Of course, BMW has a range of electric vehicles, including the ultra-luxury i7 and the polarizing iX SUV. This year, Zipse says the electrified lineup will grow to accommodate the forthcoming i5 executive sedan and the iX2 crossover, which should boost the company's already strong sales. Last year, BMW delivered more than 215,000 electric vehicles, more than double the amount of EVs it sold in 2021.

Interestingly, last year's most successful M Performance vehicle was the i4 M50, which shows how customer needs are shifting. By 2027, electrified cars will account for over half of the performance subsidiary's sales.

Let's not forget that Munich is also working on hydrogen-powered vehicles. The iX5 Hydrogen is the first of these cars, and some are already running around in America. In the future, we can expect even more hydrogen vehicles based on the Neue Klasse platform.

Hopefully, European lawmakers will heed what Zipse is saying and make some much-needed changes.