In case anyone is wondering whatever happened to Chrysler in the push for electric vehicles, well it’s a little bit of this and not much of that.
On the one hand, at the big annual conference up north organized every August by the Center for Automotive Research, Chrysler exec Bob Lee said Chrysler and Fiat will broaden their North American lineups with more diesels and small turbocharged gasoline engines instead of investing in electrified powertrains, according to a report in the Automotive News.
Lee, global powertrain head of Fiat and Chrysler, said consumers don't value hybrids and other electrified vehicles enough to pay for the added cost of battery packs, electric motors and chargers.
We think that’s a very short-sighted and risky approach that could leave the company further and further behind.
On the other hand, Michael Duhaime, global director for electrified powertrain propulsion systems at Chrysler, says electric vehicles will play a big role in the company’s future, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press.
Duhaime, who was the chief engineer for the Chevrolet Volt’s powertrain, left GM after 33 years for the position at Chrysler last year.
The company’s first electric car — the Fiat 500e — just went on sale in California, but not a single one of the 257,820 gasoline-electric hybrids Americans bought in the first six months of 2013 came from Chrysler or Fiat, according to Hybridcars.com’s monthly sales report.
“The 500e is just the first step,” Duhaime told the Free Press. “There are battery electric vehicles in our future.”
We sure hope so.