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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: 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.

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