Ineos Chief Warns Market Not Ready for BEVs

Sir Jim Ratcliffe calls for a longer transition period from fossil fuels to alternative vehicle powertrains.

Paul Myles, European Editor

May 21, 2024

2 Min Read
Sir Jim Ratcliffe Ineos Fusilier
Ineos boss Sir Jim Ratcliffe with upcoming Fusilier BEV with range extender.

European governments need to rethink their electrification of transportation strategies in the face of dwindling demand for battery-electric vehicles.

That’s the view of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, British billionaire businessman and head of Ineos Automotive, who attacks the continent-wide proposed ban on fossil-fuel burning new vehicles from 2035, reports the Daily Telegraph.
His comments come just a couple of months after his own company launched its first battery-electric vehicle, the Ineos Fusilier, albeit offering it with the option of a gasoline range extender.

He says the auto market could be stressed to breaking point if governments force people into products they don’t want. Ratcliffe also points to an issue that WardsAuto highlighted in March where U.K. dealers are turning away used BEVs because they can’t sell them.

He tells the newspaper: “There is a rather fundamental drawback with the electric car. It simply doesn’t do what you want a car to do. It doesn’t get you from A to B reliably if you are on a long journey and you have no idea whether you will be able to fill it up.

“Put it together and it’s referred to as ‘range anxiety’ and it’s very real. Electric is fine and dandy for the short local journey, but should you decide to head off for the hills, forget it, hence demand has dried up.

“Tesla is making 14,000 workers redundant. Sales of electric in Germany in March collapsed by 30%. You can’t give a second-hand electric car away in the UK.”

Ratcliffe also accuses politicians of “dreaming” and calls for a longer transition period between fossil fuels and green alternatives. He supports hydrogen fuel-cell cars as well as small gasoline range extenders.

He adds: “Politicians have been dreaming of vote-winning green agendas and utopian engineering and energy switches. Dreams of course, don’t need to be real. They don’t need to accommodate the needs of the consumer, the practicalities of installing colossal new infrastructure and the small matter of: Where all this electricity is coming from? Coal?

“Flipping transportation from fossil fuels direct to electric is not like flipping a light switch. The very notion is barmy, which is why the U.S.A. predicts electric car take up by 2050…will only be 20%. In Europe, our idealists are heading towards 100%.

“The solution is not difficult. There needs to be a transition period between fossil fuels and green fuels. During this transition, the world needs to install the necessary infrastructure and energy modifications and throughout the transition phase the ‘trajectory’ towards green fuels needs to be positive.

“The transition period will also allow time for alternative technologies to emerge. Hydrogen fuel is clearly an interesting option for larger vehicles either in the form of a hydrogen fuel cell or direct-burn hydrogen engines. There will be other clean fuels too in time.

“The interim solution today which serves the need of the consumer is either the hybrid or electric vehicle with range extender. I like the latter.”

About the Author(s)

Paul Myles

European Editor, Informa Group

Paul Myles is an award-winning journalist based in Europe covering all aspects of the automotive industry. He has a wealth of experience in the field working at specialist, national and international levels.

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