Sergio's Crystal Ball: FCA Boss Doesn't Think EVs Are the Future
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne likes to keep people guessing, which is no surprise to those following the rapid-fire product changes at his company.
With his company’s fortunes buoyed by sales of thirsty Ram and Jeep vehicles, Marchionne remains fascinated and distrustful of electric automaker Tesla, telling Britain’s Car Magazine that the future of propulsion likely lies somewhere else.
The question is, what’s Marchionne doing about it?
The CEO and sweater enthusiast admitted that combustion engines will make up a smaller share of the market in the future, but targeted Tesla by saying the company reminds him of the Internet bubble.
“There is nothing Tesla do that we cannot also do,” said Marchionne. “We build cars, sell them and are still able to pay the bills. But I’m not even sure you can recover all of your costs – let alone generate a profit – through electrification.”
This isn’t the first time Marchionne fired a shot in Tesla’s direction. It’s worth noting that before the plug-in Chrysler Pacifica minivan appeared, FCA’s product lineup contained just one token EV — the money-losing Fiat 500e.
Gasoline vehicles will stay an important part of the market, he said, and while EVs “may be the next big thing,” they might not be the direction the industry takes in the future.
“The answer is bound to be somewhere else, and the question is whether we are doing enough to try to explore that somewhere else,” he added.
Anyone watching FCA’s global expansion of the Jeep brand would probably answer that question by saying “not enough.” If not hydrocarbon fuel or batteries, what then? The only obvious answer is hydrogen fuel cells, but FCA has yet to field a prototype, or even announce development of one.
Last year, FCA chief technology officer Harald Wester made waves in the media by professing his love for fuel cell technology. When pressed, he admitted that current methods of large-scale hydrogen production weren’t very green, and shuffled off the idea of a fuel cell-powered product to some point in FCA’s hazy future.
Back in the pre-bankruptcy/recession era, Chrysler showed off its ecoVoyager concept car at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, but certain financial events conspired to make that effort a distant memory.
Until FCA taps its limited cash pile and makes a move in this direction, Marchionne just looks like someone sitting idly by, casting stones.
More by Steph Willems
Latest Car ReviewsRead more
Latest Product ReviewsRead more
- SCE to AUX Here's some advice - slow down. That's a great way to arrive home safely, without a ticket, with lower blood pressure, and more economically.
- Dartdude They need to rebrand the models, The standard model should be Wagoneer and long version should be Grand Wagoneer. There should offer the Ram Rev powertrain in these
- Irvingklaws Seems more like they're adopting Honda styling queues. Now if they would just adopt their reliability...
- FreedMike "Obsidian Edition."Oooooh, obsidian is really, really hard stuff.
- John The awesome Infiniti G series saved this company 20 years ago, but they are right back on track to obsolescence. (yawn)