By on August 1, 2017

2017 Jeep® Wrangler Unlimited Sahara - Image: Jeep

As we told you yesterday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is spooked. He can’t count on diesel engines for fuel economy gains anymore — at least, not for long. With governments big and small braying for lower emissions and cracking down on the use of diesel vehicles, FCA’s future lineup requires a gas-sipping solution.

And so, after sitting on the fence for years, the Auburn Hills automaker (which still carries a big, albeit shrinking, debt) has given in. It’ll pour money into electrifying its lineup. In five years, 50-percent of its models should boast some form of electric propulsion, Marchionne claims.

As we’ve learned from the past, FCA’s product promises — and especially its timelines — carry a big grain of salt. But let’s say the company sticks to its goal. And, because this question can go any way the author chooses, you’re replacing Marchionne at the helm. (Read More…)

By on July 31, 2017

2017 Jeep Compass

It’s no secret that hybrids and fully electric vehicles are about as appealing to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne as a crisp, button-up shirt. The FCA boss once famously railed against his company’s sole electric offering — the tiny, money-losing Fiat 500e — for losing $10,000 for every unit sold. Placating California doesn’t come cheap.

Still, Marchionne isn’t alone in distrusting the plug. Subaru and Mazda have shown a similar aversion to electrification, though even those automakers concede it’s a losing battle. In a conference call with investors late last week, Marchionne admitted defeat, outlining a plan to add electric motors to a significant chunk of FCA’s fleet in the coming years. One division stands to go the way of Volvo, with electric motors planned for each new car introduced after 2019.

What prompted the shift in thinking? Diesel, and the public’s growing distrust in compression-ignition engines. (Read More…)

By on February 26, 2017

2017 Bentley Bentayga rear

If you were wondering if the Volkswagen-owned Bentley Motors Limited would be omitted from its parent company’s promise of rampant electrification, it won’t.

Bentley also isn’t too high and mighty to hop onto the compact crossover bandwagon. Executives are saying that the luxury motorcar manufacturer is toying with the notion of producing a small all-electric SUV positioned beneath the $229,100 Bentayga, in stature anyway.  (Read More…)

By on January 31, 2017

e-tron

Along with the rest of Volkswagen AG, Audi has made plans to invest heavily into electric vehicles. The company expects EVs to comprise 25 percent of its U.S. sales by 2025 and is devoting the e-tron moniker to an entire division of electrified models, with the first arriving next year.

Addressing the J.D. Power Summit at this year’s National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo, Audi of America President Scott Keogh told salesmen to welcome the electric mobility market with open arms or learn to cope with an ambivalent future. However, jumping head-first into a relatively small market with a huge potential for growth isn’t without pitfalls, and it isn’t unwise for dealers to remain cautious. Still, with Audi planning to introduce three new BEVs within the United States by 2020 and Volkswagen Group hoping to have 30 battery-electric models out by the 2025, you can see why Keogh is pressing the issue.  (Read More…)

By on May 19, 2016

2014 Cadillac ELR

Rarer than an albino squirrel, the slow-selling Cadillac ELR was apparently shuffled into the afterlife three months ago.

Cadillac confirmed to Automotive News that the Chevrolet Volt-based luxury coupe ended production at GM’s Hamtramck facility earlier this year, with remaining units now dwindling from dealer lots.

Tell this news to any random person on the street, and you’ll very likely hear back, “What’s a Cadillac ELR?” (Read More…)

By on February 25, 2016

2016 GMC Sierra with eAssist, Image: General Motors

General Motors will test the coastal waters with mild-hybrid versions of its 1500-series trucks beginning this spring, the automaker announced Thursday.

A total of 500 Chevrolet Silverado and 200 GMC Sierra eAssist trucks will be sold exclusively to granola-fed Californians. GM claims the trucks are good for a 13-percent boost in city fuel efficiency, the natural habitat of the vinyl trading, furniture refinishing, kale-eating millennials hopefully interested in a full-size domestic pickup.

The latest effort is unlike GM’s earlier foray into utilitarian electrification, which employed a two-mode hybrid system on GM’s full-size pickups and SUVs jointly developed with BMW and the former DaimlerChrysler. The new, modular eAssist system will rely on a small lithium-ion battery providing electrons to a 13 horsepower compact induction electric motor. The system adds electric power boost, stop/start capability, and regenerative braking to equipped pickups.

(Read More…)

By on January 18, 2016

CH017_023PF

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ global hybrid chief said that the newly announced Chrysler Pacifica minivan will be the largest vehicle for FCA’s new hybrid powertrain and that the gasoline and battery combo will be scalable to smaller cars.

“This’ll be the largest footprint — in the Pacifica,” Michael Duhaime told us last week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “As we get into the smaller vehicles, basically what we’ll do is put smaller electric motors. The power electronics is part of the transmission … all that stays consistent. We’ll just go with smaller motors, and then the final drive will change with the different vehicles.”

So … Jeep Cherokee Hybrid?

(Read More…)

By on May 8, 2015

2015 Chevrolet Bolt EV Concept all electric vehicle – front ex

General Motors announced Thursday it would fall short of its goal of having 500,000 electrified vehicles on the road by 2017.

(Read More…)

By on April 28, 2015

Mitsubishi Concept XR-PHEV II

Though the Mitsubishi Evo as we know it will soon fade into history, the Evo nameplate will return in the form of an electrified crossover.

(Read More…)

By on January 28, 2015

2016 Toyota Mirai

Remember when Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared that Toyota was a fool to invest in hydrogen? Twice? Toyota had a few words to say in return last week.

(Read More…)

By on May 27, 2010

The Detroit News reports that two versions of the Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010 will be introduced today in the House and Senate. Both bills would spend about $11b by sending $800 million to $1 billion five to eight “deployment communities.” One of the EDVDA’s bipartisan sponsors, Rep Judy Biggert (R-IL) explains that these funds

will help regional communities establish themselves as models for the development and installation of the next generation of transportation infrastructure, including public charging stations

The bill is being backed by several small EV firms, like A123 Systems and Bright Automotive, under the rubric of the Electrification Coalition. And despite the fact that everyone loves a good subsidy, the mainstream automakers are not amused.

(Read More…)

By on February 9, 2010

Optimism and food were the two abundant commodities at Better Place’s press conference yesterday morning, announcing the company’s first Visitor Center, established – how ironically – inside what used to be an oil tank in Pi Glilot, a former gas depot. It seems that the entire event and the resounding optimism around it were eclipsed by HSBC’s recent $350 million investment in the company.

(Read More…)

By on February 5, 2010

I’ve been warned before by the B&B not to read too much into the forward-looking statements in SEC filings, especially the ones where companies ruminate over all the things that could still go wrong with their struggling firms. These legal disclosures of worst-case-scenarios often reflect unlikely scenarios and can be downright misleading, so we held off from diving too deep into Tesla’s IPO S-1 filing [complete document here]. Others around the web have jumped in without compunction, and this week has yielded a steady drip of troubling revelations. It’s a wild and woolly collection of issues, but given that people are going to be asked to invest in this nightmare of a company, it’s only fair that we give the grievances an airing.

(Read More…)

By on January 26, 2010

It goes without saying that it’s always good news for a business to be able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars on the financial markets. Just as important as the financial boost, such capital-raising also raises the profile of the company, presenting it as a viable investment and implicitly endorsing its underlying business plan. In the case of Project Better Place’s recent $350m funding boost however, the benefits might be largely limited to the firm’s balance book. Heavy participation by HSBC, Lazard and Morgan Stanley do help raise Better Place’s profile, but HSBC and Lazard are the only new investors in this most recent round of financing: Morgan Stanley, IsraelCorp, VantagePoint and other previous investors make up the rest of the round. This speaks to a fundamental challenge underlining Project Better Place: broadening, rather than deepening its appeal and support.

(Read More…)

By on December 21, 2009

Ask and ye shall receive... (courtesy:Life)

While we at TTAC continue to cover the serious, the silly and the sublime from the world of cars in this holiday season, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. We have a grip of new blog and editorial series in development right now, the first of which we’re debuting today: The Project Better Place Birthwatch. This series will be a collaboration between a new contributor here, Tal Bronfer, who will be monitoring and reporting on Better Place’s Israeli rollout, and Martin Schwoerer who will be covering Denmark’s collaboration with the EV dream company. True to TTAC’s mission, we’ve asked Messrs Bronfer and Schwoerer to dig deep into Better Place’s heady swirl of public funding, private companies, and new technology to critically explore the reality of Better Place’s reimagination of the automotive relationship. Because coverage of all things EV tends to be enthusiast- or hobbyist-oriented (read: strictly for the fanboys), the idea for this series is to look beyond Better Place’s green-tinted pitch and learn more about the true viability, costs, benefits and complications of the nascent EV infrastructure business. To ensure that we don’t miss any of the important questions, please take a moment to read Tal’s introduction to the fundamentals of Project Better Place, and let us know what questions you would like answered and what elements you would like to see explored as we take on this sprawling story.

Recent Comments

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