DETROIT (WWJ) – Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says governments are focusing too much on electric cars as the solution to fuel economy and pollution problems.
“Governments can help drive the best possible results by remaining technology neutral,” he said. “This will help bring about an optimal allocation of capital, as we evaluate every technological solution, in terms of the effectiveness of dollars spent.”
In a speech to the SAE World Congress, the Chrysler CEO said it makes more sense to look at all technologies, particularly improvements in current gasoline engines, along with electric vehicles.
“My fear, which I’ve uttered more than once, is that regulators are rushing precipitously into embracing EVs as the only technological solution.”
Marchionne says electric vehicles take up less than one half of one percent of all car sales, and will likely remain a niche product for some time. He says Chrysler can’t afford to sell too many EVs.
“For every 500 electric [vehicles] we produce, even after all subsidies, we will lose around 10 thousand bucks a car. And doing that on a large scale would be masochism at its extreme.”
Other technological issues, Marchionne says, include limits on range, and the time it takes to recharge.
“And, to be honest, there is still a great deal of controversy as to the actual contribution that electric vehicles make in terms of reducing noxious emissions, when you factor in the materials used in the production and the source of power to charge the batteries.”
The Chrysler CEO gave his thoughts at the SAE’s closing banquet. He also talked about the need of the auto industry to reinvent itself for the future. That includes a need to evolve business models as emerging markets grow in importance.
On Monday, April 29, Chrysler will reveal its first quarter earnings.
Written by Jeff Gilbert.
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