Print 75 comment(s) - last by Eug.. on May 1 at 1:12 PM

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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RE: Seriously?
By captainBOB on 4/25/2013 6:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
All those secondary sources will still be producing pollution, regardless of whether there are electric or ICE cars.

It is MUCH easier (and faster) to control the level of pollution from a few sources (power plants) and to improve them, than it is to get a massive, ignorant populace to control the level of pollution with their cars numbering in the billions now.

Neither solution is perfect, but really, the electric solution is much better than the current situation. It doesn't eliminate the problem entirely but it is an improvement.

One step at a time, first get rid of the ICE, then focus on another source, like the tires you mention.

RE: Seriously?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/25/13, Rating: 0
RE: Seriously?
By Spuke on 4/25/2013 7:04:36 PM , Rating: 3
But I can't believe I'm even bothering to discuss this with a, literally, crazy person. You're psycho!

RE: Seriously?
By Scrogneugneu on 4/25/2013 7:23:45 PM , Rating: 1
One step at a time, first get rid of the horse

That's insane crazy talk. Seriously, you're literally mentally unstable to have that opinion. Seek help.

The only way we could "get rid" of the horses would be to destroy the world economy (that's already on the brink) and revert to Stone Age levels of productivity.

But I can't believe I'm even bothering to discuss this with a, literally, crazy person. You're psycho!

Any evolution seems crazy if you see the current state as set in stone. Believe it or not, some day, we might not be using ICE's anymore.

RE: Seriously?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/25/2013 7:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
The horse was "destroyed" because something better came along, and people gravitated to it, and the car replaced it.

Some President didn't come out and say "we're mandating the horse into obsolescence"

By the way that analogy is so bad, so poorly illustrates this topic, I'm calling you crazy too!

If you believe in competition and even a shred of free market supply side economics, then have faith! The EV WILL have it's day when it's ready. We don't need to "destroy" the ICE arbitrarily through laws and regulations when the market isn't ready!

RE: Seriously?
By captainBOB on 4/25/2013 9:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
You take one....ONE thing from my post, make outlandish extrapolations from it, and call me crazy.

Your excessively strong reaction is quite humorous. If anything I should've worded that better to protect everyone else from your reaction.

I never meant get rid of ICE as in completely delete it from existence, ICE still has a place in our world, electric powertrains do not have the power to replace heavy duty vehicles like tanks, construction equipment, etc.

Just as the horse still has a place in our world, ICE will probably be around for quite some time.

The EV is very very close the being more than capable of replacing the consumer automobile.

RE: Seriously?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/25/2013 10:21:40 PM , Rating: 2
Umm that was your entire post. You just made a parody of my post and substituted "horse" for ICE. While adding absolutely nothing to this discussion.

The EV is very very close the being more than capable of replacing the consumer automobile.

If people really believed that, they wouldn't be cheering for policies that gave them an artificial leg-up. And there damn sure wouldn't be a need to "get rid" of ICE vehicles for consumer use. Because the market would gravitate to EV's naturally.

RE: Seriously?
By Spuke on 4/26/2013 12:48:46 AM , Rating: 2
The EV is very very close the being more than capable of replacing the consumer automobile.
No it's not. It's a niche vehicle and will remain so for years to come. Hybrids aren't even close to taking over the market. People still buy gas only cars by the millions. Seriously Ford sold more F Series pickups last year than ALL of the hybrids together. Thinking that EV's are just around the corner is friggin stupid. Especially when they only exist because automakers are mandated to produce them.

RE: Seriously?
By BRB29 on 4/26/2013 10:15:13 AM , Rating: 2
it's not a niche market

EVs have been made since the 1800s

RE: Seriously?
By Etsp on 4/26/2013 11:45:16 AM , Rating: 2
"Niche", that word, you keep using it. I do not think it means what you think it means.

That said, we are getting closer to the point where EVs will not be a small subset of all vehicles, but will make economic sense to many average consumers. Probably won't happen for at least another 10 years, but we are getting closer.

RE: Seriously?
By Spuke on 4/26/2013 2:59:46 PM , Rating: 2
Niche from Merriam-Webster

d : a specialized market

EV's are a specialized market just like sports cars. A non-specialized market would be Camry buyers or pickup truck buyers.

RE: Seriously?
By Etsp on 4/28/2013 10:54:44 AM , Rating: 2
Right. That was exactly my point.

RE: Seriously?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/26/2013 7:49:47 PM , Rating: 2
it's not a niche market

lmao you're an idiot.

Anything under 10% marketshare is by definition a "niche" product. Wake me up when they hit ONE percent.

RE: Seriously?
By flyingpants1 on 4/26/2013 8:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
And by "years to come", you mean hopefully less than 5 years, when the Tesla $30k EV is released, and is cheaper to own AND drive than a $20k sedan.

RE: Seriously?
By sigmatau on 4/25/2013 8:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
Bingo. Whether electricity for EVs are made my "dirty" energy or not, the same goes for ICE powered vehicles. But for gas burning vehicles, the pollution continues while for the EV it stops at the vehicle. Not sure why others are having such a hard time with understanding this.

RE: Seriously?
By TacticalTrading on 4/26/2013 7:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure why others are having such a hard time with understanding this.

Simple, Batteries are really, really, really, nasty for the environment.
Production of the battery pack is messy; it uses lots of toxic chemicals. But their end of life is even worse.

An ICE, that is just metal, and then it becomes scrap metal, which is recyclable :)

Hybrid battery disposal? Um... anyone?
I'm thinking... specially lined toxic landfill. I believe that kind of space in short supply.

Think beyond the box

RE: Seriously?
By sigmatau on 4/26/2013 8:21:11 PM , Rating: 2
You are referring to one type of batter which gives some validity to your point. The nickel based ones are bad for the environment. The lithium base ones like that found in Tesla vehicles are much better. Even the roadster's batteries were "lithium ion cells contain no heavy metals, nor any toxic materials." I hope we move to these type of batteries more quickly for all hybrids. Google tesla batter toxicity for more information.

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken

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