When it comes to a belief in the viability of electric vehicles, you can put automotive folks like Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn and Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk on one side of the proverbial wall and Fiat Chrysler Chief Technology Officer Harald Wester on the other. Because while the two former executives are staking much of their companies’ respective future on plug-in electric drivetrain technology, Wester sees no such future in it at all, according to an interview in Motor Trend.
Oh, sure, the Fiat Chrysler technology chief does give the idea of an electrified powertrain some quarter, saying he sees standard hybrids as a solution for the “intermediate” future in addressing both higher gas prices and need to meet progressively more stringent European greenhouse gas-emissions standards. But Wester, who also oversees Fiat Chrysler’s Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands, ultimately views hydrogen fuel-cell technology as the way to go for advanced powertrains and minimal emissions.
As for battery-electric vehicles? Wester pretty much shoots them, citing everything from a typical EV battery’s weight to the challenge of finding electric recharging stations to the fact that much of the electricity needed for those cars is produced via CO2-emitting sources. He forgot to say anything about the CO2 required to bring gasoline or hydrogen to market.
Wester’s “bah humbug” is actually pretty consistent with the company’s party line. Last year, Fiat Chrysler head honcho Sergio Marchionne, in an interview, famously told the general public not to buy the Fiat 500e electric vehicle. That’s because he estimated that the company takes a $14,000 loss on each unit sold of Fiat Chrysler’s only production EV.