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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: Truer Words
By Paj on 4/27/2013 4:00:00 AM , Rating: 1
By and large, customers don't know what they want, nor do they make optimal choices - they are largely driven by fear, insecurity and one-upmanship. This is one reason why advertising is so effective, and why legislation is so important.

The standards just say that vehicles need to be more fuel efficient. No one is forcing anyone to buy EVs - theyre just one part of it. While I agree that the 'killer app' EV, (with the same versatility as an all round ICE vehicle) has yet to be invented, it wont be long.


RE: Truer Words
By Schrag4 on 4/27/2013 5:05:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
By and large, customers don't know what they want, nor do they make optimal choices - they are largely driven by fear, insecurity and one-upmanship. This is one reason why advertising is so effective, and why legislation is so important.


I couldn't disagree more. If people are too stupid to make the best choice for themselves, we don't need legislation to force them to to what's best for them. I don't need someone 1500 miles away deciding what I should buy. Besides, if advertising works so well on so many people, we wouldn't need anything but advertisements to get people to buy EVs. No, it's just because the tech isn't quite mature enough yet. Those stupid, fear driven people you refer to who are so easily swayed by ads STILL decide not to buy one because they cost too much and don't perform quite well enough. It'll get there, what's the rush?

quote:
No one is forcing anyone to buy EVs...


We're ALL paying for EVs to some extent in the form of tax credits. (well, those of us that pay into the system anyway) As far as I know, there's not a checkbox on the 1040 form for whether or not you want to fund those credits.


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