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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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By makken on 4/25/2013 6:53:57 PM , Rating: 2
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.

What about the efficiency of transporting all that fuel to gas stations around the world?

What about the efficiency of making a detour to a gas station, or idling at stoplights and in traffic?

What about the efficiency of spills and evaporative losses, never mind that VOCs are an O3 precursor.

Don't get me wrong, EVs have problems that definitely need to be solved, but don't pretend that gasoline has a 100% efficiency from when it's produced to when it goes in your tank. Also from a regulatory and control standpoint, EVs make a lot of sense.

Would you rather have millions of sources located in the same areas where people live and work, maintained by... Let's be honest, people who don't know jack about engines, or

A single large point source, located away from population centers, continuously monitored and maintained by a team of well trained specialists with regular inspections?

RE: efficiency
By Spuke on 4/25/2013 7:06:52 PM , Rating: 2
I'd rather have a choice in how I want to live which, supposedly, was the entire reason the US was formed in the first place. Unless that's all BS (which I really think it is but MANY others tell me it isn't).

RE: efficiency
By DT_Reader on 4/26/2013 7:57:52 PM , Rating: 2
I totally agree that it's dependent on how your electricity is generated. Ours is hydro and wind (Pacific NW), so for us it's zero CO2. If he doesn't want to sell us electric cars, that's his business - we'll buy from someone else, then. They can't make them fast enough for this market, and there are several small shops that do conversions. Personally, I want one of those electric DeLoreans.

RE: efficiency
By Jaybus on 4/29/2013 3:49:19 PM , Rating: 2
It's true that BPA's power is currently about 80% hydro. The problem is that this ratio cannot be maintained if there is a lot of additional demand. If everyone drives an EV, then the extra demand has to come from somewhere. We have a similar problem here with TVA. Hydro cannot be expanded because every viable hydro location in the Tennessee Valley is already being used. I suspect that is also the case in the Columbia Valley.

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