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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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RE: progress is never easy....
By Reclaimer77 on 4/25/2013 8:09:41 PM , Rating: 1
The reason governments are pushing for EV and hybrids is that they know that auto makers are not pushing hard enough for the technologies needed on their own!

That's insane! Take crazy pills or you'll end up being the next Marathon bomber. Seriously.

The job of the Government is not to sit around and declare that the private sector isn't pushing technologies "on their own" based on their uninformed time-table.

Auto makers are doing pretty damn good on their own. We have hybrids thanks to them, they developed the technology on their own. No Government involvement.

EV's just aren't ready, and they know it. The Leaf is doing "ok", but certainly not enough to sustain an entire industry. Tesla makes cars nobody can afford, backed by low-volume sales. And Fisker is out of commission. This is hardly evidence of a thriving EV market just waiting to happen, if only the auto makers "pushed harder".

RE: progress is never easy....
By BRB29 on 4/26/2013 8:53:59 AM , Rating: 2
Are you sure automakers did it on their own with no government involvements?

RE: progress is never easy....
By Reclaimer77 on 4/26/2013 7:09:28 PM , Rating: 3

The first production hybrid vehicle was released in Japan, by a Japanese company.

Please explain to me how US Government style mandates and tax rebates caused that...

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