This adorable press release came through my inbox this week. Fiat Chrysler’s Sustainability Report is a charming bundle of puppies and daisies, isn’t it? But it’s all sugar-coated nonsense. So what if your employees do volunteer work? So what if you’re reducing the environmental footprint of your operations? The environmental footprint of FCA’s product line has a far greater impact.
You can read the full report here, which details its product goals starting on page 22. None of which state specifically that it will phase out diesel, but that it will — “by 2020: achieve 40% reduction in CO2 emissions vs 2006 (1) for mass-market cars sold in Europe, according to EU regulation requirements.” Apparently the rest of the world will have to fight for their right to breathe, too.
The good news is that FCA claims it plans to phase out diesel passenger cars by 2022, which is basically next week in auto development time. However, it doesn’t include pickup trucks in this plan. Yes, most* pickup trucks need that diesel torque as much as 18-wheelers do. But with Tesla, Daimler, and Cummings all planning to offer fully electric trucks, why not offer fully electric pickup trucks? You can fit a lot of batteries under a truck bed, and at least find 110V outlets at most job sites.
Sergio loves to whine about the money he’s losing by being forced to make electric cars for California and Oregon. Clearly he needs to re-up his battery contracts, because those 2013 prices just don’t cut it for 2018 batteries. As recently as last October, he was still trying to claim that EVs are dirtier, clearly not realizing that even the developing world is breaking the coal habit. Plus the Fiat 500e is BY FAR the most fun this motorcycle racer has ever had on four wheels. And it’s far more fun than any other Fiat 500 I’ve driven. Full review, with video of how fun it is for puddle surfing here. So is Fiat planning to build more? To perhaps expand its electric portfolio? Begrudgingly, and as slowly as possible. While he tells Bloomberg that the future is hybrid, it’s slooooowly climbing onto the hybrid wagon. But it may well zoom away and leave the company in its low-carbon dust if it stalls any longer.
Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler is next in line in Dieselgate. It is close to settling the case on the 104,000 diesel vehicles it has sold in the US. James Ayre covers that here. Next in line will be all the other countries not interested in passively killing their citizens. Which stands to cost it far more than the money Sergio claims to be losing on a model he claims can’t scale. Nissan doesn’t seem to have much trouble scaling the LEAF. Perhaps FCA should find a CEO that knows how to innovate. Toyota certainly had no problem bringing the Prius to market at scale and continuing to dominate some of the biggest auto markets. Every other car in LA is a Prius, because it’s just dumb to waste money on gas when the majority of your commute is spent sitting in traffic going nowhere.
What’s interesting about Dieselgate is that the defeat device uses software that’s written into every fuel (or diesel, in this case) injector used. And there’s one supplier making the injectors for roughly 95% of the auto industry. Which means one supplier had to know what was written into that code, and therefore basically anyone making “clean” diesel vehicles is culpable, and should be held responsible. In 2018, there is absolutely no reason to own a diesel car. If you want long range between trips to the gas station, that’s what hybrids are for.
If Fiat Chrysler was actually doing something about sustainability, it would have a portfolio of hybrids, PHEVs, and EVs with the torque of a HEMI. Or rather, the torque of a Tesla Model S P100D, which would leave any Challenger crying for their mama at the dragstrip.
*trucks that are actually used for their intended purposes, not to just carry the groceries home.
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