By on June 10, 2016

marchionne

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.

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107 Comments on “Sergio’s Crystal Ball: FCA Boss Doesn’t Think EVs are the Future...”


  • avatar

    EV will be the future.

    …at least as soon as more governments help create a charging network as ubiquitous as the gas station network.

    Liberals are FORCING us to move to EV simply by passing emissions and CAFE demands that virtually no company can meet beyond the smallest and lightest of cars. Trumping up the “global warming” noise to ensure people believe they have no choice.

    I.C.E vehicles are being LEGISLATED OUT OF EXISTENCE.

    Not because we “ran out of gas”.

    Because of hydro fracking and other techniques, we have more natural gas, oil and gasoline than EVER BEFOREEEEEEE.

    They are being LEGISLATED OUT OF EXISTENCE.

    Once charging becomes more standardized and ubiquitous EV will end up being the norm. 50 years down the road, there will be very few ICE vehicles left.

    Another problem is dealing with the increased mass of EV vehicles on our crumbling infrastructure – but that’s a question for another day.

    Thing is, if all these EV handle and accelerate the same way – or drive themselves – what’s going to differentiate them beyond carrying capacity? Will anyone care about the “style” of their car when they themselves aren’t driving it?

    Another appliance.

    I see a future with fewer brands around.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “…at least as soon as more governments help create a charging network as ubiquitous as the gas station network.”

      we need to stop thinking of it like the “gas station model.”(1) what will need to happen is the expansion of charge points *at the places people go to regularly.* Meaning, charging stations at stores, malls, parking structures, schools, workplaces, etc. Why should I worry about having to go somewhere specific to plug my car in, when I should be able to just top off the battery while my car is sitting in a parking lot doing nothing? For me, “range anxiety” goes away when that happens. around Detroit, there are places here and there who offer (for pay) charging for their customers, but they’re few in number. Partridge Creek (outdoor mall) has an enormous parking lot, but like only 4 charging stations which are always occupied.

      Getting there is going to have to be some sort of public/private partnership; between some level of government, utility companies, and incentives for private businesses to install more of them.

      (1) Tesla’s Supercharger network still kind of follows the “gas station model,” but they’re addressing a different problem- that of the “I can’t take an EV on a road trip” worry.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        I’m on a 100+ mile trip in my Leaf right now. Currently at a planned stop near the half-way point for lunch at a place that has free charging and WiFi. I’ll get enough of a boost to my 100-mile range to give me plenty of padding to make the trip home.

        If I’m near home, I rarely need charging. I can run most errands without the range estimator even dropping out of the nineties. I would like to see more level 3 charging (or even better, 800 volt charging when that’s finally here) at locations between long distance destinations. Kind of like the Supercharger network.

        In Rhode Island, they have charging at some of their beaches. Love those stops! Somewhere in my photo collection is a shot of the cars dash while charging at one of the beaches. Through the windshield, you can see a woman in a red bikini walking by.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @JimZ – agreed. In more urban dense environments the key is to set up recharging anywhere cars will be parked. That would be malls , grocery stores, work places etc. If one considers the fact that Interac is now a universal item just like pay at the pump, it would not be hard to have charging points all over the place with interac pay as you go access.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          Lou, in urban areas my I think the need for public charging is next to nil. You’re never going far enough to run out of battery. Just charge at home. People need to take a step back and re-think this. GM found that most Volts charge at home. A full on EV wouldn’t be any different. Especially considering most have almost twice the range or better of a Volt. The infrastructure for EV’s is already in place. It’s the 115 vac outlet in your garage. Or wire in a 220 vac outlet if you need it same as any electric range or dryer. No big deal.

    • 0 avatar
      jimbob457

      @BTSR

      You really must stop viewing with alarm. Even assuming global warming advocates are correct, look at where global CO2 emissions come from. It ain’t from cars. All of the fuzzy-minded thinking about curtailing car CO2 emissions will fall victim to reality.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        jimbob457,
        In some ways I do support BigTrucks comments.

        There are far better ways of reducing CO2 than with the use of EVs.

        Power generation and storage for starters. The use of natural gas is another.

        I’d do believe what is occurring is policy and regulation is being driven by the big end of town. That is the energy providers.

        Think about this. EVs protect the big auto manufacturers by ensuring they have a much better chance of remaining afloat. Not investing enough into solar for home use and the storage of power for home use and resale is protecting the big power generators and retailers.

        Imagine if most could go off grid and sell their stored power to industry? Oh my God! The big end of town will lose out, big time.

        It’s all about industrial politics and protection of the big fella’.

        That’s why I laugh at some of the comments that are made in support and subsidisation of EVs.

        EVs are not just viable, they will be very costly to charge etc. Even look at the gas industry and how hard it is to get natural gas to homes. There are a lot more cars than homes. How will there be enough charging stations to adequately service future the needs of EVs?

        EVs are a hobby item. Most would not even consider an EV if it wasn’t subsidised in many cases. Subsidisation isn’t just at the dealer, but all of the underhanded money that transfers into research, production, setting up plants, etc.

        This money must come from somewhere and it isn’t from the sale an charging of vehicles.

        There are many better ways to save the world. What about the slash and burn techniques used in SE Asia, Africa an Brazil?

        Cows farting is another. I think the way in which big business has taken over the CO2 and emissions issues have locked out much progress. There is too little competition in this area.

        Why? Because it’s civil servants who decide who, when an where the tax dollars go to in subsidisation. Of course they will bend over to the will of the biggest and strongest lobbiest.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          The thing is that the vast majority of EV owners charge them at home only. With most of them you can even set them to charge at a certain time so after you’ve gone to bed, turned off pretty much everything in the house.

        • 0 avatar

          Big Al – as I’ve heard it Natural Gas contains more CO2 per unit…but you’re dealing with people TRYING TO LEGISLATE CO2 …

          CO2 is a natural consequence to ANIMAL LIFE.

          Apparently THESE STUPID IDIOTS don’t know what Photosynthesis or Cellular respiration is.

          THEY ARE CONTROLLING ENERGY USE. TAXING EVERYONE.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            @BTSR:
            Your concern is in.the climate change FAQ:
            https://www.skepticalscience.com/human-co2-smaller-than-natural-emissions-intermediate.htm

            As a “liberal”, I wish I had the power to force companies to build EVs just because I said so.

            For instance, I rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee the other day (while attending my sister’s gay wedding to her long-time lifer partner in Northampton MA), and I kinda liked it. The JGC seems like a good family adventure vehicle, which is something I like, but 3rd row access is terrible (because it doesn’t have a 3rd row), and I just don’t like ICE vehicles enough to pay full price for them – the noise and the shifting just reminds me that I’m not driving the EV that I really want. I’m not buying a JGC until it’s electric. I’d like the JGC much more if it were electric.

            I’m currently driving a Mazda5 (my wife has the Sienna), which is exactly right for our family’s day to day needs, except for the dino burner under the hood. Put a 200-mile electric drivetrain in a Mazda5, and I’d be a very happy dad!

            I sure wish us “liberals” had the power you say we did!

            But, instead, I put down a $1k deposit on a Tesla Model 3, and I’m eagerly waiting for Musk & Co to finish thwirbwork — just like everyone else who wants a 200-mile EV ASAP. My wife will probably get to drive the Model 3, though. She has the longer commute (100 miles/day on Midwestern highways), and the gasoline savings and autopilot on that commute will benefit us both.

            Our fleet wouldn’t work with two small cars, so I’ll probably drive our Mazda5 until Musk & Co builds me a Model Y — though I’d seriously consider a 200-mile EV from another manufacturer. Alas, FCA has just declared that they don’t really want my money, so I’ll buy my 200-mile minivan replacement from their competition instead. I’m a little bummed that it won’t be a 3-row JGC-EV, but I’ll get over it.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          As a former Eagle Scout, I believe that truth and justice will out. Fracking has changed everything. With cheap natural gas available the world around, we have a 20-30 year window even given the worse case with CO2 and climate change.

          For those who do not know, natural gas is a better power plant fuel than the coal it replaces. It is run through a jet engine and the waste heat fires an ordinary steam electric plant. The result is a heat rate of 50% plus or minus compared to a max of 33% plus or minus for coal.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “For those who do not know, natural gas is a better power plant fuel than the coal it replaces. It is run through a jet engine and the waste heat fires an ordinary steam electric plant. The result is a heat rate of 50% plus or minus compared to a max of 33% plus or minus for coal.”

            Fair enough, but the inevitable leaks involved with all the drilling of new wells increase methane emissions, with methane itself being a powerful greenhouse gas.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    well, EVs are certainly not in *his* future.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “With his company’s fortunes buoyed by sales of thirsty Ram and Jeep vehicles…”

    As fuel prices go up, up, up, FCA sales will go down, down, down. See ya!

    There might be hope for the Dart & 200 yet. FCA had better hope so.

    EDIT: As far as the next step power source/fuel, it won’t be FCA developing it, they can’t afford it, but perhaps Toyota or Ford or GM is more likely. More likely is that it will have to involve several OEMs and their respective governments to commit to such an advance.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The flip side to that argument is that he’s got the right products for right now. Which is what he was hired to do.

      Also, I’m not convinced that RAM and Jeep are particularly thirsty within their market segments. The Renegade, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee are pretty good on gas (and/or diesel) compared to their direct competition. The next Wrangler should offer significant improvements. Same thing with RAM, they’ve got lots of configurations that are good on gas.

  • avatar
    Michael Haz

    Ah yes, plug-in EVs. Such a dream. A car that charges in the grid, at a time when the federal gummint has promised to put coal miners out of business and to shut down all coal powered electric plants.

    Some parts of the US have brownouts during the highest demand periods of the year – summer – as it is, now let’s shut down some plants and add a few million plug-in cars to the load.

    Of course, all those new nuke plants coming online will help.

    Oh. Wait. There are no new nuke plants. Never mind.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      DTE Energy is shuttering coal plants of their own accord and replacing it with a mix of natural gas and renewables. Coal is just a filthy fuel with a ton of downsides. Yes, I’d like it if we could actually build more nuclear power plants (especially ones which are newer than the 60-year-old designs we have now!) but you can thank a load of NIMBYs for putting the kibosh on that.

    • 0 avatar

      Ah yes the grid is going to fail due to the extra demand.

      I’m sure when refrigeration was invented folks worried about that.
      I’m sure when electric clothes dryers and washing machines were invented folks worried about that.
      I’m sure when electric ranges were invented folks worried about that.
      I’m sure when Hot Water Heaters were invented folks worried about that.
      I’m sure when A/C became popular in homes folks worried about that.
      I’m sure when TV’s invaded the living room folks worried about that.

      You see, with extra demand comes extra revenue. The more you use the more you pay. As people pay for the electrical demand they create the utility companies size the grid equipment to accommodate.

      • 0 avatar
        npaladin2000

        Actually, that’s not how it works. That might be how it SHOULD work, but “the grid” is not a free market, it’s a regulated monopoly in pretty much every area. Market forces have nothing to do with it, any delivery rate changes have to be approved by government commissions, which makes it very hard to raise money for infrastructure upgrades. Essentially they have to be dictated at some government level, which is generally unpopular and leads to people being voted out of office, so it doesn’t get done very often.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          I think @JPWhite’s point was that the utilities will expand to handle demand… and not just average demand, but peak demand.

          Grids are public utilities, so I am grateful for government stability and oversight. Otherwise, we would continue to have Enron and (intentional) rolling black outs.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            But MY point is that they won’t/can’t expand to meet demand. At least not the delivery portion of the business, otherwise known as “the grid.” That’s the regulated monopoly part. And since there’s actual competition in the supply end of the business in most places, they can’t pad those prices to make up for it, because someone will undercut them. At least that’s how it works here in the great Empire State.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            What PNM did in NM is expand to handle “future” demand by making current customers pre-pay the total expansion costs up front in two ways:

            First, monthly fixed costs doubled – that’s the costs for infrastructure.

            Second, usage costs tripled – but the customer has a choice of three different sources of electricity (coal/nuclear, sun, wind) with sun and wind being a little more expensive than coal/nuclear.

            All in all a bad deal for the residents of the second poorest state in the union.

            And it hasn’t stopped me from running my generators and polluting the air.

        • 0 avatar

          @npaladin2000

          OK so if that’s not how it works….

          how come every time there has been a new electrical appliance millions have adopted the sky didn’t fall?

          History tells us it works. Maybe I am ignorant of *how* it works. I am simply stating that for the last 100 years it has worked.

          There are plenty of studies on this subject. I was part of the EV Project for example. It seems the one area for concern with EV’s is the neighborhood. If a particular neighborhood sees a higher than average adoption of EV’s the transformers on the poles may not be up to task and need upgrading. The studies have shown the backbone of the grid to be minimally impacted by EV’s.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Years ago when I rewired one of my houses to include a 200a main panel instead of the existing 100a panel the lady at the power company was concerned if I was adding any loads and would thus tax the infrastructure in that neighborhood. She made it sound, at first, like they wouldn’t hook the power back up to the new service if I had added any loads.

            The funny thing is they had no questions when I did the 5 new services on the houses I owned right around the corner.

            Of course I lied and said no new loads just upgrading to the minimum panel size I can install in that jurisdiction, when in fact I was adding electric heaters in the bedrooms as part of the rewire project.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “how come every time there has been a new electrical appliance millions have adopted the sky didn’t fall?”

            Most of the time my Volt charges on the default 8 amp (115 VAC) setting. If I need to charge it faster it still only pulls 12 amps. That’s nothing.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “Most of the time my Volt charges on the default 8 amp (115 VAC) setting. If I need to charge it faster it still only pulls 12 amps. That’s nothing.”

            Same here – I use the “delayed charging” feature that ensures that the battery is fully charged by 8:00AM – but you need to manually select the “12 AMP” charging rate if the battery is empty, as the “8 AMP” setting takes 16 hrs, and thus will result in the charging beginning immediately if you plug it in @ 4:00PM or later.

            Chevrolet needs to give Volt owners the option of setting the 12 Amp charging rate as the default, so that the car starts charging later in the evening, thus reducing the peak load on the grid. This also would be helpful in “Time-of-day usage rates” being offered by more electricity suppliers.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “Same here – I use the “delayed charging” feature that ensures that the battery is fully charged by 8:00AM ”

            Your charging smarter than I am. I’ll admit I just plug it in when I get home which is why I’m almost always on the 8 amp rate. I suspect GM having the car default to the 8 amp charge rate is for CYA reasons. That’s a big complaint with a lot of Volt owners. I need to call my power provider (Excel Energy) here in MN and find out what they offer for customers using off peak electricity to reduce on-peak demand. Then I can get into the habit of using the delayed charging on 12 amp and save myself a little money. 51 miles on the range indicator yesterday w/my 2013 getting ready to roll 40K miles.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “The studies have shown the backbone of the grid to be minimally impacted by EV’s.”

            Makes sense since they are probably charging at night and that is not when the grid stressed.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “I need to call my power provider (Excel Energy) here in MN and find out what they offer for customers using off peak electricity to reduce on-peak demand.”

            You’ll have to see if you have a digital kWHr meter installed on your service – it uses a data link for the constant communications required to allow “time-of-day” metering.

            They just installed one on my house, and I got an “offer” by mail that 2 secondary suppliers were providing “time-of-day” rates, but only during June-Sept…

            I don’t want to change suppliers (and risk some of their documented “metering errors”) for the limited benefits to me, but I’ll continue with the delayed charging because it’s a sensible thing to do. All EV owners should do this (if they have access to another vehicle) to smooth out the load on the grid. The Volt has an ICE, so I can go at any time without worrying about a partial charge.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        JPWhite,
        Were all of these appliances an items subsidised to “ensure” their success?

        This is what is wrong with EVs. They will never be a self sustaining proposition. Only through regulations, handouts/subsidies etc can they ever exist.

        Plus, I don’t ever recall any negativity in accepting any of what you mentioned. You are just talking bullsh!t as they VALUE added in owning one. EVs don’t offer any advantage over an ICE.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Given the immaturity of most alternatives to internal combustion, it might be a good idea to sit and wait, let other companies take the risks. The only other solution that seems to have gained any traction is the hybrid drivetrain, but that’s still ICE.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “We build cars, sell them and are still able to pay the bills.”

    Yes but treading water while you slim your model offerings down to nothing and write off debt and look for someone to partner-dump your company on isn’t exactly something to brag.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    Were listening to future trend prediction from someone that wears the same sweater year round ?

  • avatar
    George B

    The pattern of vehicle propulsion is fairly easy to see. I predict that vehicles will continue to use liquid hydrocarbons for fuel, but that each generation of car will have incremental improvements in energy efficiency. These incremental efficiency improvements spread across the majority of vehicles as they become reasonably cost effective. When fuel prices go up, hybrids become a larger percentage of the fleet. The reason electric cars have never caught up to ICE cars is because they’ve been chasing a moving target for more than a century.

    The obvious move for FCA is to stay current with incremental efficiency improvements while developing hybrid ICE-electric propulsion to be ready when fuel prices go up.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      As a customer, I’m not particularly interested in that path.

      Our oldest car is scheduled for replacement by a Tesla Model 3, whenever Tesla gets around to delivering it.

      Hopefully we’ll replace our next oldest car with a Model Y.

      Else, I’ll have to go back to compromising. I can keep used gas cars going better than most people, and I enjoy maintaining them. But every time the 5AT shifts, I wonder why I’m not driving an EV.

  • avatar
    bobman

    Actually, Sergio isn’t the only person to be reminded of the internet bubble by Tesla’s current value.

    Like autonomous driving, this is something that should be looked at as a spectator and jump in when the technology is a little more mature.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Whether you shld be a spectator depends on your personality.

      If you like for things to work, and are somewhat risk-averse, you should!

      Early adopters provide a service for you by trying out the technology and helpibg to work out the bugs.

      Where you want to hop on the S-curve is up to you, assuming the technology works at all.

      See:
      http://innovationzen.com/blog/2006/08/17/innovation-management-theory-part-4/

      Personally, I end up conflicted. I have the temperament of an early adopter, but I like to be conservative with money.

  • avatar

    If Sergio doesn’t think that EV’s are the future I’d love to hear what he considers *is* the future.

    He came up short of explaining what will replace gasoline engines.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Of course he came up short. If he “knew” what would replace gas engines, he’d be able to throw money at it. He doesn’t know. Frankly, no one knows. The people throwing money at what they “know” are the future are essentially gambling with their company’s money. It’ll be nice if they win, but they’re doing their shareholders a disservice if they lose.

      Plus who knows what disruptive new tech will rear its head in the next couple of years? Maybe Scotty invents the transporter and renders all other transportation obsolete. Just as a wild example.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Elon Musk is a hell of a gambler.

        That guy seems to have a negative IRR, and an appetite for risk that I’ve never seen in a public figure. And he’s smart enough to stack the deck before he gambles.

        I agree that he’s gambling Tesla’s money. He probably would agree, too.

        That doesn’t mean I want to work for the guy… I’ve had my fill of way vice Silicon Valley squeezes around their employees. But I will buy the car.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      the “future” for him is one where he unloads FCA onto a “merger partner” and he and Elkann walk away counting their money.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    FCA should become the cheerleader for butanol as a vehicle fuel, because it means having to do relatively little new R&D. It is a biofuel like ethanol, but has properties very similar to gasoline. Up to 100% butanol has been shown to burn in unmodified engines designed to run on gasoline, provided their fuel systems are made of materials which aren’t degraded by alcohol.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Sure would be ironic if the industry reintroduced the smell of butylene that once permeated any place inner tubes were stored.

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Ypu can buy butanol from renewable sources at a very fee select locations in Texas.

      I am 100% against all biomass based fuels, the return on energy is practically wothless, nd when you factor in water and soil depletion, it looks even worse. I am and 100% for turning nevada into a giant solar farm and using hoovr damn to load level. If i were in charge, it would already be happening. Battery Electric just makes sense to replace gasoline. Nothing else currently competes.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        The trick is to turn bio WASTE into an energy generating asset. Check this out:
        http://www.thelocal.es/20151112/spain-sees-launch-of-worlds-first-poo-powered-home
        I’ve met these folks. They are the real deal.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      Biofuels are an utterly shit. idea.

      Let’s turn food into fuel.

      The only one that makes sense is biodiesel since it’s mainly made from waste oil.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…Marchionne just looks like someone sitting idly by, casting stones.”

    That’s about it.

    Hydrogen fuel cells are a bad joke for a host of reasons. EVs have some ongoing issues, but at least they’re viable.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      the thing is, if hydrogen distribution was viable, it’d be the holy grail. remember that fuel-cell vehicles *are* EVs; just one with a rapidly refillable battery.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Agreed.

        But the mythical cold fusion would be easier to achieve than affordable and accessible hydrogen infrastructure. Toyota and friends keep waiting for the states to pay for it.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          Hydrogen storage and transport is simply thermodynamically inefficient. The laws of physics and chemistry dictate that it will never be competitive with batteries in efficiency.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “Hydrogen storage and transport is simply thermodynamically inefficient. The laws of physics and chemistry dictate that it will never be competitive with batteries in efficiency.”

            +1

            And you would still have to drive (likely out of your way) to a “filling station” to fuel; EV owners wake up to a “full tank”, courtesy of their existing electric service + EVSE.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            The estimate for California is 100 fueling stations by 2020. Hydrogen proponents like to talk about fueling time and range, but how long will it take to get to one of these 100 fueling stations in California traffic? How much range to you lose driving to the station? What’s the wait time going to be at the station?

            Each of the hydrogen stations are going to cost $1.5 million. Not counting installation, a bare bones EV charging location using a GE Model # U054P outdoor NEMA 14-50 RV outlet is $29.99. Installation would add quite a bit to that cost, but still wouldn’t be bad.

            For EVs, I support moving toward an infrastructure using cheap NEMA 14-50 outlets mounted to parking light poles. The power is there, the pole is there, just add the $30 outlet.This approach would require EV owners to carry a level 2 EVSE with them, but they’re small and cheap. Providing an EVSE is nice, but I don’t mind bring my own that I know is fully functioning and plugging into a simple outlet. Some campgrounds have already figured this out and have a bit of a side business charging EVs.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    The reason why Marchionne doesn’t believe electricity is the new energy source and why he’s not investing in it is because deep down, he already knows what that new energy source is for FCA cars. It is METHANE, from all the bulls..t he has plenty of.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Actually, electricity really isn’t an energy “source” at all. It’s simply a common exchange medium for energy. Kind of like currency being a common exchange medium for wealth. The exchange process generates inefficiencies…storing it in a battery does too. That’s one of the big downsides of electrification, it’s just not efficient from an overall standpoint, since you have to extract the energy from something else (generally at a net loss) just to create it, then you have to transfer and store it, also at a net energy loss.

      Extracting something direct from the source is usually more efficient, particularly if that source is easy to store and transport without loss. Like coal. Or…wait for it…gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        markogts

        “Extracting something direct from the source is usually more efficient”

        No. Because small car engines will never have the efficiency of big plants. And, while you can have renewable electricity, there is no such thing as “renewable gasoline”*. It’s full of reports out there where the conclusion is always the same: even with the dirtiest grids, EVs are as clean as an hybrids. And the more hydro, solar and wind there is, the better they fare.

        Example: http://blog.ucsusa.org/don-anair/how-do-electric-cars-compare-with-gas-cars-656

        *no, biofuels are a joke.

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          Umm, no. You’re completely and 100% wrong. Despite citing a non-peer reviewed block with an obvious political agenda (and data that they admit they don’t even have). The grid introduces inefficiencies: every wire resists electricity to some degree, that energy is lost in transmission. Battery storage introduces inefficiencies: charging never EVER happens at 1:1. And a lot of those electrical energy sources are still comparatively dirty, even if the EV itself doesn’t generate emissions (we can talk about how nasty the battery chemicals are another time, if you’d like).

          • 0 avatar

            @npaladin2000

            No let’s talk about how nasty the battery chemicals are right now.

            The CEO of BYD is on record as having drunk the electrolyte out of one of their lithium-ion batteries.

            I challenge you to do the same with either gasoline or crude oil and let us know how you are doing.

            http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1020092_byd-ceo-drinks-battery-fluid-from-companys-own-environmentally-friendly-battery

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I wouldn’t believe that claim about a BYD exec. #1 because it’s BYD, #2 because that “Green Car Reports” story claims CNNmoney.com as a source but doesn’t even provide a link, and #3 because while the typical electrolytes for LiIon or Li-Poly batteries aren’t *particularly* toxic, they’re not something you want to ingest very much of.

            don’t be so credulous.

            the “nastiest” part of lithium rechargeables is the lithium itself, and that’s simply because it’s similar to other alkali metals with how it does some amusingly loud and bright things when exposed to water.

          • 0 avatar

            Yep we can’t believe everything we read on the internet.

            As a more credible source I link to fortune.
            http://archive.fortune.com/2009/04/13/technology/gunther_electric.fortune/index.htm

            In addition I searched for “BYD CEO Drinks Battery fluid false” and replaced the word false with a number of myth busting terms, such as “not true”, discredited” etc. Not a single hit.

            So while the story was widely distributed on the internet, there are no accounts I can find that discredit it.

            As for the potential for lithium to catch on fire, no argument there.

            It is easy to find fault with something and and the same time ignore similar dangers from everyday life. Adding water to lithium may result in a violent reaction, however gasoline can behave in a similar manner when exposed to a spark, heat or flame. Ever see a burnt out shell on the side of the interstate? A fuel leak onto the alternator or the exhaust is all it takes.

            Accounts of Tesla’s burning to the ground have all shown that the fire starts slowly giving occupants time to get to safety.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            @npaladin2000

            “You’re completely and 100% wrong.”

            The US department of Energy disagrees with you.

            Here’s a source, with cited sources and an easy graphical tool which will let you examine the emissions from various kinds of drivetrains against different scenarios for the electrical generation mix:
            http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/electric_emissions.php

            Everyone with a 1.0E-100 of a clue agrees that electrical generation has emissions and inefficiencies. Its just better than gasoline, AND you don’t have to replace your car to change fuels. Moving to an EV replaces two really hard emissions problems with one really hard emissions problem.

            Add in how nice it is to drive an EV (they have the NVH of a gazillion dollar luxury car, due to the lack of explosions under the hood), and I’m sold.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I’m still not buying it. It was basically an off-hand mention in that Fortune article, and none of it passes the sniff test. again, we’re talking about BYD here. this is a company which sent some cars to NAIAS for a few years, and at an event where you’re supposed to put your best foot forward, the cars they were displaying were horrid pieces of junk. the sheetmetal edges looked as though they had been cut and formed by hand using shears, the paint was about Earl Scheib quality, and the interiors would make an early-90s GM product look luxurious. Yet I’m supposed to believe they have this amazing battery tech that no one else does, yet it’s 7 years after that Fortune article, where is it? When it comes to trustworthiness of Chinese automakers, if BYD told me their cars had four wheels, I’d walk around and count them.

            It’s all well and good to be an advocate for things like electric and alternative propulsion, but you seem far too eager to believe anything said by an EV manufacturer (or in this case, “maybe” EV manufacturer.)

    • 0 avatar
      moff90

      Well, Fiat is actually the biggest seller of CNG (as well as LPG) powered cars in Europe…

      http://gazeo.com/automotive/vehicles/CNG-powered-cars-bestsellers-of-2014,article,8346.html

      (old article, but you get the idea)

  • avatar
    stroker49

    EV will not be the future. We will have ICE and plug in hybrids I think.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I do not believe that EVs will be the future for everyone who chooses to drive a vehicle.

      But EVs, PEVs and Hybrids should be available for those who choose to buy them, even as second or third vehicles.

      Just not with a taxpayer subsidy.

      Toyota had the right idea with the Prius line, and people bought into that idea.

      Volt was a good idea too, but it came from a failed company, so people steered away from it. Never caught on.

      Tesla is only for the rich. Not a consideration for the common man.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        highdesertcat,
        I agree that EVs in the future will frowned upon as the biggest white elephant that reduced a countries wealth.

        Electric vehicles were around PRIOR to ICE vehicles for starters. They never achieve any thing special other than some work on golf course, factories where infrastructure was made possible and cheaply.

        I’ve worked in places that had electric forks. I can’t recall how many times they were not recharged adequately. Some companies moved to LPG/Propane forks as they were more reliable, ie, they always had energy to make them function.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Will there ever come a time when people discussing a new ICE car will be constantly bombarded with comments about how Big Oil is subsidized by taxpayers?

          Will people continually comment “Oh, that new Malibu is nice, but I hate that my neighbor’s son had to die in the Middle East fighting to keep the oil flowing so we can drive them”? Just curious.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Maybe it will happen if you finally explain the subsidies to us. All you ever offer is that oil is funded by wars. To many of us, it’s obvious that the global strategies of our overlords are independent of the desires of the common consumer. They want control of that resource regardless of how we use our little share.

            The oil-related wars are almost certainly a net economic benefit to the U.S. anyway. The country and its military is powered by oil, and they’re taking control of even more oil. Would they really be doing that if it required more energy to power the military than they receive in return for their efforts? What other energy source do you believe is subsidizing the military efforts?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            rpn453, there’s some interesting reading material, albeit dated, about the oil subsidies, that goes all the way back to 1942, and how the US converted much of civilian industry, including oil mining to war-footing, after Pearl Harbor.

            The subsidies stuck, long after WWII ended, and were instrumental in the industrial boom that followed the end of WWII.

            Interestingly enough, the Big Oil subsidies tie-in directly with with those subsidies to Commercial and Contractor Airline Companies that guarantee that the US government will always have a ready fleet of air transport, many times larger than its military air fleet.

            America was built on oil and coal. The green freaks like to forget about that and rewrite history.

            I don’t like any kind of subsidy, bail out, hand out or nationalization since these are always selective in nature. I never qualified for any.

            But regardless of who controls the reigns of Congress, every administration has continued subsidies to Big Oil, for many decades.

            Now subsidies, bailouts, handouts and nationalization have been expanded to bailing out Wall Street, Investment Banks, Mortgage Houses, dead automakers to keep the UAW working, and to promote EVs and PEVs that the vast majority of buyers reject.

            Welcome to the new America.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @HDC:

        The $7500 federal subsidy has a cap in the number of vehicles it will apply to. IIRC, its around 200k vehicles per manufacturer. The subsidy tapers off once a manufacturer hits that threshold.

        Tesla has something like 373k Model 3 reservations, and they’ve sold a bit more than 100k other vehicles.

        A big topic of debate among the Model 3 reservation holders is whether or not we’ll receive the subsidy.

        In other words, the subsidy is designed to jump start the industry, and then phase out. It appears to be working as intended, at least for Tesla.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ” the subsidy is designed to jump start the industry, and then phase out. ”

          Yes, that’s my understanding too.

          And that was also supposed to be the initiative behind the subsidies in 1942 to Big Oil, GM, Ford, Chrysler, Kaiser, Overland and all the other manufacturers, to help them switch over to war-footing production after Pearl Harbor.

          I’m not against EVs and PEVs. I think they should be available to anyone who wants to own one, even as a second or third vehicle.

          Golf carts are available to anyone who wants one, and they run rampant in retirement communities as THE primary mode for transportation.

          OTOH, EVs and PEVs are such a minuscule part of the overall new-car SAAR each year, that the subsidies are clearly a taxpayer give-away to early adopters who will buy one of these limited-range electric vehicles in order to further the agenda of the green-weenies.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “Golf carts are available to anyone who wants one…”

            My “golf cart” gets me across town and back at extra-legal speeds, and recharges overnight from a 120V plug.

            And it does that while hauling an ICE/gas tank along for the ride.

            So, yes, keep up the anti-EV hyperbole, it’s sounding more foolish every day.

            I gleefully accepted the $7,500 tax credit, as I’ve never been wealthy enough to take advantage of the mortgage interest deductions that so many take for granted.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Here’s a fun thought: make a list of TTAC’s perpetual supporters of EVs in one column and the reliable scoffers in another.

            Which group would you rather do a long fishing trip with?

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @kenmore – “Which group would you rather do a long fishing trip with?”

            The CAPS LOCK guys ain’t coming. They’ll scare way the fish.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “The CAPS LOCK guys ain’t coming.”

            Holy crap, imagine being stuck in a vehicle or cabin with them. If that ain’t a vision of hell…

            Then you also have the Death by a Thousand Stupids of the mile-long anecdotals. I’m going to pick the EV guys and just STFU about batteries in wintertime.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “…pick the EV guys and just STFU about batteries in wintertime.”

            I’m somewhat ashamed of the 25% loss of range, but I don’t downplay it when people ask me about it.

            But then, I just brag about the defroster coming up hot in <2 minutes.

            HELLVOLT :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “EV will not be the future.”

      Nope but they will be one of the pieces in the puzzle to reduce our consumption of oil. Drive an EV and you won’t want to go back to an ICE.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I drove an EV, and now I’ve spent last 5 years cursing the pretty good automatic transmissions in every used beater car I’ve owned since.

        Alas, $30k was money I didn’t have at the time. It’s also a little much for a car that, due to my local geography, couldn’t travel to the next town and back. But the 200-mile EVs change all of that, and there’s a Tesla Model 3 with my name on it.

        But, yeah, a drove an EV and I’m hooked.

        And, no, EVs won’t replace every ICE car ob the road. But replacing half of them would easily make the middle east irrelevant to American interests, not.to.mention the environmental and climate benefits[0].

        [0] I didn’t say they are perfect, we all know where electricity comes from. I said they are better, which is what the data and papers say on the issue.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The biggest hurdle for EVs isn’t the availability and density of charging points. This is quite a narrow view of the problem.

    I see materials required for battery production as a source of the problem. There is far less scope to produce 70 odd million EVs a year using lithium or what ever more exotic material that is required.

    Don’t forget the push for batteries used in the storage of electricity for homes, etc.

    Has anyone been watching the price of lithium as well. It is expected to triple in price over the next 18 months. Will this impact the price of an EV?

    I do agree with Sergio on this. Over the longer term EVs are just not viable.

    The only real option is a greater use of public transport at the moment or stick with ICE technology and clean it up.

    The cost of setting up an EV style economy will just be far to expensive for any nation to undertake. It will need to be subsidised heavily for eternity.

    There are far better ways to spend tax dollars than on some airy fairy crap like EVs.

    I like EVs, but I detest the use of my money to promote and develop the tech and infrastructure.

    Rather than wasting trillions on developing new technology, lets maximise what we do have first.

    Is our society that “throwaway” that we even throw out was is proven for our very existence and freedom.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    EVs just move the pollution from the tailpipe to somewhere far away. That somewhere is a power plant, which often burn fossil fuels to generate the electricity it needs. Wind and solar can’t efficiently provide the mWh like coal, oil and natural gas can (and nuclear/hydro, but those aren’t fossil fuels, of course). The much-coveted “green” sources of generation require a bigger footprint (less ROI in terms of land use) and isn’t consistent in meeting peak and baseline demand, so good luck supporting tons of EVs on a bunch of solar panels in a field.

    Don’t forget that our grid cannot sustain millions of EVs and charging stations on every corner due to the squeeze that population growth alone is putting on it. Rolling blackouts will be necessary to balance the demand. This will disrupt the economy in a big way.

    It shall pass; those that want EV will still be able to get them but the fact of the matter is that ICE is what works. Regulators will fight tooth and nail for their agenda but the reality is that their plan will backfire. Environmental studies will show negligible (or even negative) progress should EVs become more prevalent while the electrical grid simply gives up the ghost across the nation due to the surging demand (no pun intended). They will look like the fools they are. Oopsie!

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Specious and easily debunked arguments, per yoozh for TTAC. The Luddites are out in force tonight.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “EVs just move the pollution from the tailpipe to somewhere far away”

      The better to make air breathable in communities. It’s also more effective to put scrubbers in power plants than it is on a million ICE cars.

      BTW, the rolling blackouts by Enron was what got my blood boiling. They wanted to build more power plants and ran unnecessary rolling blackouts to show people the need was “real” and thus got community approval.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Yawn, us EV hipies thought of that long ago. Believe it or not, a lot of us are engineers and know where electricity comes from.

      See:
      http://www.afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/electric_emissions.php

      I stayed away from the green movement until I found people were willing to accept an engineering mindset.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Luke42,
        Read reality in the link I have below.

        You can dream along with the other “EV Hippies”. Dreaming has never hurt anyone when you keep your dreams to yourself.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Here is a sobering article on how the EV and Lithium battery market will fail, along with Elon Musk’s Giga Factory. When Elon’s Giga Factory fails he will undoubtedly expect the taxpayer to fund him to remain afloat.

    http://investorintel.com/technology-metals-intel/lithium-ion-batteries-three-critical-mineral-constraints/

    ……………………………………………………..

    From the link above;

    Conclusion.

    In the lithium-ion battery industry, materials costs are 50 to 70 percent of total manufacturing costs; one of the highest ratios on the planet. Prevailing green mythology holds that lithium-ion battery prices will fall dramatically as anticipated production rates soar due to gigafactories and undefined “economies of scale.”

    The last time I checked, the difference between a known mineral resource and a reliable factory feedstock was a couple decades of exploration, permitting, development and construction work, coupled with a couple billion dollars in capital spending.

    Notwithstanding the prevailing green mythology, I’ve never met a miner, or for that matter a mining investor, who was incentivized to embark on a new project by expectations of lower future product prices. They’re all in it for the money.

    Given the current production dynamics for both lithium and cobalt, I’m firmly convinced that increased demand can only lead to higher raw material prices and excruciating shortages. Since most competitive users of lithium and cobalt are far less sensitive to raw material prices than battery manufacturers, it’s certain that they’ll protect their critical supply chains and the battery industry will either have to pay up or do without.

    It doesn’t matter how big your battery factory is if you don’t have a rock solid supply chain for your critical minerals.

    ……………………………………………………….

    Makes you wonder who correct. Will EVs fail?

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Big Al From Oz,
      EV’s are like Steam cars of a previous era, technology is too difficult to become viable. Now if we are talking of Batteries that use simpler and less hard to get materials, for housing and office buildings, then possibly they can be useful.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        That report has its flaws. It misses the fact that due to increasing demand and higher prices, new lithium resources will come on-line. There are new mines in both Nevada and Northern Mexico in the works and probably more. The higher prices and demand for lithium are a good thing in that it will spur more investment money to flow into the lithium mining industry. Just what happened recently with the oil industry. The high demand and prices spurred innovation and brought about new resources resulting in an oversupply at low prices. That’s what will happen in the battery industry.

        The paper also makes the assumption that cobalt is a major component of the electrodes. I wouldn’t bet on that one. That’s something the battery companies keep secret and it’s also a major target for research. Changes in electrode design are the reasons the battery I’m testing has 31k miles, hundreds of quick charges on it, over 1,000 level 2 charges, and still gives me 100% health from the report over the CAN bus. Older batteries would not be at 100% and it’s all due to new electrode materials and maybe increased thickness in some cases. What materials are in use now is anybody’s guess. Is it going to be cobalt? I don’t think anyone outside of these labs can say for sure.

        One important thing you have to remember about EVs is that even though the government likes to push them because they are green and manufacturers like to push low cost of operation, the reality is that most EV fans are probably like me – we love these things because of the way they drive. While you may be happy with a CVT, direct injection, and a turbo that sounds like a 1909 Model T when it’s idling, some of us like the instant torque and smoothness of an electric. Even the lowly Leaf with ECO mode switched off feels like it has a smooth V12 under the hood. This is the real reason so many of us are putting up with the various hassles of EV ownership. People use the green reasons and economy of operation as excuses to buy them – but it’s not the real reason. The reality is that it is all about the driving experience. That’s why no one cares when critics whine about them. That’s why EVs are here to stay. So enjoy your turbo lawnmower motor powered pick-up with golf cart transmission and complex emissions controls. You know that’s where it’s headed. EVs won’t kill off ICE vehicles – ICE technology will commit suicide with the help of regulations.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          “ICE technology will commit suicide with the help of regulations.”

          And “regulations” will eventually be replaced by simple “common sense”.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Whenever there is a discussion of alternate sources of energy it is limited to just solar and wind. In KY the state has offered incentives to power plants and to land fills to set up mini power plants that use methane gas and put this power back into the grid. My older brother who years ago worked for a municipal waste treatment plant told me that the power and the heating and cooling was generated from methane gas from the sewage. It seems like that if we set up mini power plants in most of the land fills and waste water treatment plants around the US that there would be more than enough power generated. Much better to use the methane gas than to let it go out into the environment. If you take natural gas, methane gas, wind and solar power, and safer more efficient nuclear power eventually the need for coal could be reduced significantly over a period of decades. For now we need to use coal but we do not really have a shortage of energy in as much as not using other sources of energy available to us that are either not being used or underutilized. These additional sources of energy would charge up a lot of EVs without significantly impacting energy needs.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      “If you take natural gas, methane gas, wind and solar power, and safer more efficient nuclear power eventually the need for coal could be reduced significantly over a period of decades.”

      But that would take planning, and government subsidies, because it seems that the only way to profit in the energy industry is to have a monopoly – what you describe is anything but (but is the “smart” way).

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