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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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EVs are the future
By foxalopex on 4/26/2013 2:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
Personally I think this is just a car maker refusing to change with the times. Or they don't have the money to advance either to Hybrid or EV research. It's like a company that only makes desktops saying that laptops are fragile and expensive and useless compared to a desktop. Each has it's purpose. That said EVs:

1. EVs cause less air pollution than ICEs locally. Since I own a EV, I've noticed that my car doesn't emit any fumes. I doubt however the fumes from all the other non-EVs on the road are doing my health any favours. It's even worse when someone has leaking valves or fuel lines and you end up smelling gas or something burning from them. Even if EVs are coal plant powered at least for most people they arn't right next to you.

2. EVs are quieter. If all cars switched to being EVs then our cities would be much quieter. And guess what noise pollution affects your health too.

3. EVs can potentially get cleaner with time. As technology advances, the push to generate electricity more efficiently will gradually make EVs more efficient. With ICE engines past the initial break in, your engine gets dirtier and less efficient with time as it wears out. Unless your swapping your low tech engine for a higher tech one year after year.

4. EVs can be entirely made with local materials and be powered locally instead of ICE which uses oil in nations which we are less than friendly with or that hate us because we've tampered with their politics to get that oil.

5. I know lots of folks argue that the rare-earth elements used to produce EVs come from China but really? When was the last time you heard of a Chinese terrorist hurting us? The other thing is we have our own rare-earth elements, it's just we preferred using cheap Chinese rare-earth elements than developing our own production. Plus these elements are only needed in production. Once produced the EV uses only local power and if these materials are so valuable you can bet they'll be recycled. We don't toss lead-acid batteries in the dump after all.

6. EVs have massive low end torque which is exactly what you want in a car plus they can easily regenerate some power instead of melting your break pads.

I think if you're a car enthusiast it's hard to argue that EVs are not the future. They are. The only legit argument is if they're advanced enough to be used now.




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