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Auto exec admits his company may have to develop a hybrid powertrain in the U.S.

Harald Wester -- CEO of Fiat S.p.A.'s (BIT:F) high-end subsidiaries Alfa Romeo and Maserati -- admits his performance luxury car firm may be forced to make a hybrid powertrain to satisfy U.S. CAFE standard regulations.  But while his peers like Ferrari S.p.A.Porsche Automobil Holdings SE (ETR:PAH3), Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) AG (ETR:BMW), and McLaren Automotive are at least feigning genuine enthusiasm about their upcoming hybrid or electric vehicle (EV) sports cars, Mr. Wester didn't candy-coat his opinions: he thinks that EVs are "nonsense".

At the Shanghai Auto Show he said in a keynote:

It looks like something we will have to, but the only reason to do it is to meet regulations. We don't see it as a significant business.

All this discussion about zero emissions is nonsense. Nobody talks about the efficiency of how the battery is charged. It varies strongly from region to region, depending on how the energy is produced, nuclear, coal and so on, but even the best is not ahead of the internal combustion engine.

Diesel and CNG are the more obvious answers if CO2 is the focus. Both are more viable answers than hybrid. If they gave us a CO2 target instead of imposing technology then we would go that way.

If we want a realistic solution to emissions then the regulators need to be more honest in how they calculate emissions. Electric cars are not the answer.

2014 Maserati Ghibli
The 2014 Maserati Ghibli -- not an EV

By his estimates electric vehicles have a plant-to-road lifecycle output of 86g of CO2/km in Europe, 110g/km in the USA, and 191g/km in China.  In other words, he's arguing that EVs are far from zero emissions -- and he's right.

To be fair, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency tasked with CAFE regulation, does somewhat take this into effect via its mpg-e (electric vehicle mpg) numbers.  That said, the numbers do seem a bit skewed -- EVs are scoring 100 MPGe or more.  To put that in context the 1.4L engine Chevy CRUZE from General Motors Comp. (GM) puts off only about 161 g/km, meaning that it may produce less emissions in regions like China where much of the power comes from "dirty" sources.

Source: Autocar



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Truer Words
By Reclaimer77 on 4/25/2013 5:24:53 PM , Rating: 5
Seldom spoken:

quote:
It looks like something we will have to, but the only reason to do it is to meet regulations. We don't see it as a significant business.


Nailed it right there. Forcing automakers to provide a product, much to their determent because of basically zero consumer demand, isn't the way to move forward.

How so many people can support this, is just beyond me.




RE: Truer Words
By Shig on 4/25/2013 5:40:43 PM , Rating: 5
Porsche and Ferrari seem to think differently with their new cars. (Both are hybrid supercars)

LaFerrari and the 918 Spyder hybrid.

This technology will come down to cheaper prices over time. Resisting a superior power train is foolish though.


RE: Truer Words
By Reclaimer77 on 4/25/2013 6:01:01 PM , Rating: 4
Yeeeah I don't think you're getting the macro-argument here. At all.

I personally think SSD's are superior to HDD's. They even draw MUCH less power, so hey, the argument could be made that HDD's should be mandated away because they are more polluting etc etc.

Does that mean the Government should come in and mandate that storage device manufacturers meet a goal of 90% SSD production by 2015 or whatever?

quote:
Resisting a superior power train is foolish though.


It's not that simple and you know it...


RE: Truer Words
By sigmatau on 4/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Truer Words
By soulcarver on 4/25/2013 10:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
I think you need to look at that again. SSDs generally have lower power consumption compared to HDDs across the board. You may find some examples to the contrary, but overall that is not the case.


RE: Truer Words
By Shig on 4/25/2013 10:22:39 PM , Rating: 1
It's just that every major car maker is either hedging themselves with hybrid tech or EV tech or a combination. A company that outright refuses to do what everyone else is doing, I dunno, that just seems bad.

Maserati is only projecting 13,000 cars this year. Tesla Motors is going to move more cars than that.


RE: Truer Words
By Reclaimer77 on 4/25/2013 10:59:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
It's just that every major car maker is either hedging themselves with hybrid tech or EV tech or a combination.


Because they're being forced to. So what? I bet if I put a gun to your head I could make you do lots of stuff against your will. But you probably wouldn't like it.

Basically the entire industry except for obvious shills like GM, said doing this was crazy, would hurt the industry, and jack up vehicle costs. Of course our benevolent know-it-all Messiah, having such extensive experience in the automotive industry, knew better. But alas, here we are.

quote:
A company that outright refuses to do what everyone else is doing, I dunno, that just seems bad.


I dunno, I think I like living in a world where people can do their own thing. How is that "bad"? You think it's good if everyone does the same thing?

Maserati might have a small customer base, but those customers know what they want. And that is NOT EV's and hybrids. I feel Maserati, as well as everyone, has a right to provide the products the consumers want.


RE: Truer Words
By Nutzo on 4/26/2013 4:35:58 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I feel Maserati, as well as everyone, has a right to provide the products the consumers want.


How politically un-correct of you :)

People who disagree with this and want these goverment mandates have a general distrust of the free markets.

Central planning (mandates are just a slightly less offensive form of this) always leads to less choice higher prices, and a lower standard of living.

Yes, we do need some regulations, specifically safty and polution controls, but we are so far past basic regulation.


RE: Truer Words
By Kazinji on 4/27/2013 9:31:36 PM , Rating: 2
EPA, and the DoE MPGe varies drastically. DoE makes it seem more realist. http://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenmeyer/2010/11/24...


RE: Truer Words
By euler007 on 4/25/2013 10:22:02 PM , Rating: 2
SSD use less power at idle and more at peak power draw.

But they spend a lot more time at idle than a HDD for any amount of work.


RE: Truer Words
By mcnabney on 4/26/2013 10:35:13 AM , Rating: 1
You also have to have a bunch more SSDs to gain the same storage capacity. People are comparing a 480GB SSD with a 3TB HDD.

For example:
3TB Green drive - 3.65W idle, 7.15 load
480GB SSD - 1W idle, 1.5W load

However since you need SIX SSDs to get to 3TB, the power requirement goes up to 6W idle, 9W load - which is much higher than the HDD.


RE: Truer Words
By Etsp on 4/26/2013 11:40:35 AM , Rating: 2
SSDs do save power in enterprises. Generally, the requirements that datacenters have for storage is for IOPS primarily, as the to reach the level of performance they need, they end up with a lot more capacity than they require.

With SSDs, they require less capacity, and a LOT less physical drives.


RE: Truer Words
By BRB29 on 4/26/2013 1:53:19 PM , Rating: 1
I call BS.

First of all SSD are 2.5" drives. You cannot compare it to a 3.5" drive.

Here's some SSD power consumptions
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6710/intel-ssd-525-r...

Here's a comparison between SSD and HDD drives power consumption.
http://techreport.com/review/24487/wd-black-4tb-ha...

Notice there's very little difference between 2.5" HDD and 2.5" SSD? All the big 3.5" HDD take up more power because they're bigger.
Even the 1TB velociraptor only takes 6 watts at load. That thing is spinning at 10k rpm.

Note that the Seagate Momentus XT 750GB is using only 3.1 watts at load. That thing has an SSD AND HDD. If it was only the HDD then it would be 2.x watts. So yeah, you are wrong.

The only thing you got right was that SSD has a lower idle than HDD.


RE: Truer Words
By The0ne on 4/26/2013 2:55:19 PM , Rating: 2
I think you shut everyone up, Nice!


RE: Truer Words
By RedemptionAD on 4/27/2013 9:48:27 AM , Rating: 2
Shhhhhh! This is a non confrontational e-comment discussion and facts have no place here. Let the lashings commence.


RE: Truer Words
By Reclaimer77 on 4/27/2013 11:07:05 AM , Rating: 3
This is hilarious.

The point was do we want the Government deciding what we can buy, use, or what the market can produce.

The point was NOT a technical discussion about storage devices. Analogies are rarely perfect, they are an illustrative literary construct that uses metaphor, to help explain something.

The idea that people are crawling over themselves in an attempt to "pwn" me on trivial facts, that have no bearing on the discussion, is a sad display to be sure. They don't want to discuss anything that doesn't fit their world view, so it's easier to just attack the source, me.

p.s. his "facts" are highly skewed and his approach flawed. Because SSD's perform their tasks much faster than those crappy low-powered 5400RPM 2.5" drives. So in the end SSD's still consume less overall power, which anyone with half a brain already knew!


RE: Truer Words
By Reclaimer77 on 4/25/13, Rating: -1
RE: Truer Words
By MadMan007 on 4/25/2013 11:30:48 PM , Rating: 5
People pick on your analogy because you're generally an asshole. But also, in this case, you're factually wrong:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6884/crucial-micron-...

Lots of SSDs above 2W there.


RE: Truer Words
By slunkius on 4/26/2013 12:54:01 AM , Rating: 3
haha, this is debate strategy gold! if caught pulling arguments from your ass - call everyone douchebag nitpickers.


RE: Truer Words
By superflex on 4/26/2013 5:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
Let's drop the SSD argument. Would you be in favor of the govt setting guidelines for how much power your computer can draw. Perhaps a ban on CPU and GPU overclocking, since the powerplant will have to spew more CO2 so you can get better FPS?


RE: Truer Words
By EnzoFX on 4/25/2013 10:25:25 PM , Rating: 3
False equivalency garbage. That would be comparable if HDD's were stupidly more power hungry... oh and if they happened to pollute the planet lol.


RE: Truer Words
By Rukkian on 4/26/2013 11:07:12 AM , Rating: 2
And fund terrorist regimes around the world.


RE: Truer Words
By Eug on 5/1/2013 1:12:44 PM , Rating: 2
Car analogies never... Oh wait... ;)

Anyways, some SSDs have higher peak AND idle power draws than some platter drives. The several year old Kingston V100 series comes to mind, comparing against low power 2.5" laptop drives.

The Kingston V100 was spec'd at 1 Watt idle and 6 Watts active. That's significantly higher than 2.5" HDD power utilization, and the peak is actually getting into the range for 3.5" green drives.

With SSD, what you gain is speed, esp. random access time, and not necessarily power savings. There are specific SSD models that do sip power, but you can't just buy any SSD model and expect it to save power vs. 5400 rpm laptop drives.


RE: Truer Words
By mars2k on 4/30/2013 2:48:13 PM , Rating: 2
Fiat owns Ferrari as well. The distinction is false in this article. Porsche is owned by VW which also owns Bentley and Lamborghini. What would seem to make more sense would be if the parent corporation were given one café rating overall. Sell a ton of Fiat 500 hybrids and leave the supercars alone.


RE: Truer Words
By Paj on 4/26/2013 8:33:07 AM , Rating: 1
Forcing corporations to adopt standards is definitely the way to move forward. Any time a company has to comply with new safety/efficiency legislation, they complain.

They complained about phasing out leaded petrol, CFCs, asbestos, despite the clear health and environmental warnings. This is no different - it takes time and money to confirm to new legislation, which is why corporations don't like it. But the benefits are clear - they're not just creating new legislation for the hell of it.


RE: Truer Words
By Schrag4 on 4/26/2013 9:50:26 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree. Corporations don't complain about change when it's what their customers want. Perhaps more people today want EVs than are buying them, but that's because of the shortcomings of EVs and the increase in price. Corporations are complaining because they're being forced to produce cars that are largely unpopular. Wouldn't any corporation making anything complain about regulations requiring them to offer a product before the technology is mature enough to be cheap enough to sell? This isn't about some great conspiracy to keep you in a vehicle that uses fossil fuels.


RE: Truer Words
By BRB29 on 4/26/2013 9:59:13 AM , Rating: 2
I remember clearly corporations complain about CAFE standards and it's exactly what the customers want. MORE GAS MILEAGE

Every product regardless of regulations is always offered before the technology is matured. Anybody who buys them are called early adopters. Generally they are bought by the wealthy as there is a premium on them. You don't remember how expensive laptops and cell phones were? What about $5k for a 42" 720p LCD? Carbon fiber? even those stupid toy RC helicopters things used to sell for $60+ each


RE: Truer Words
By Schrag4 on 4/26/2013 12:31:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I remember clearly corporations complain about CAFE standards and it's exactly what the customers want. MORE GAS MILEAGE


I want more gas mileage too, but I don't want to drop an extra 20k up front to get it.

quote:
Every product regardless of regulations is always offered before the technology is matured. Anybody who buys them are called early adopters. Generally they are bought by the wealthy as there is a premium on them. You don't remember how expensive laptops and cell phones were? What about $5k for a 42" 720p LCD? Carbon fiber? even those stupid toy RC helicopters things used to sell for $60+ each


Totally agree. Only with CAFE standards and subsidies and tax credits, we're all forced to be early adopters to some extent whether or not we want to be.


RE: Truer Words
By Rukkian on 4/26/13, Rating: 0
RE: Truer Words
By Nutzo on 4/26/2013 4:44:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Without push and previous cafe regs, we would be stuck with cars that get at best 20-24mpg, cause that is all that is available.


I detect a complete lack of faith in the free markets.
You actually think that nobody would be making high milage cars if the government didn't force them to?

I'm not looking at buying a hybrid because of government cafe standards, I'm considering it because of $4 gas.

Without the standards, some companies would have been pushing high milage cars because that is what some people want. When gas prices went up, the other companies would have lost market share and quickly started producing more efficent cars or they would go out of business.


RE: Truer Words
By Paj on 4/27/2013 4:00:00 AM , Rating: 1
By and large, customers don't know what they want, nor do they make optimal choices - they are largely driven by fear, insecurity and one-upmanship. This is one reason why advertising is so effective, and why legislation is so important.

The standards just say that vehicles need to be more fuel efficient. No one is forcing anyone to buy EVs - theyre just one part of it. While I agree that the 'killer app' EV, (with the same versatility as an all round ICE vehicle) has yet to be invented, it wont be long.


RE: Truer Words
By Schrag4 on 4/27/2013 5:05:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
By and large, customers don't know what they want, nor do they make optimal choices - they are largely driven by fear, insecurity and one-upmanship. This is one reason why advertising is so effective, and why legislation is so important.


I couldn't disagree more. If people are too stupid to make the best choice for themselves, we don't need legislation to force them to to what's best for them. I don't need someone 1500 miles away deciding what I should buy. Besides, if advertising works so well on so many people, we wouldn't need anything but advertisements to get people to buy EVs. No, it's just because the tech isn't quite mature enough yet. Those stupid, fear driven people you refer to who are so easily swayed by ads STILL decide not to buy one because they cost too much and don't perform quite well enough. It'll get there, what's the rush?

quote:
No one is forcing anyone to buy EVs...


We're ALL paying for EVs to some extent in the form of tax credits. (well, those of us that pay into the system anyway) As far as I know, there's not a checkbox on the 1040 form for whether or not you want to fund those credits.


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