Major Carmaker Blames Politicians For Brutal EV Revolution

Electric Vehicles / 33 Comments

Someone finally said it.

Fully electric vehicles are the future. Internal combustion will eventually be retired. Who decided this all should happen? Not the auto industry, at least according to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. Speaking to the media, Tavares expressed concerns that EVs could bring environmental and social risks all because of a political agenda. This isn't the first time he's expressed EV concerns.

"What is clear is that electrification is a technology chosen by politicians, not by industry," he said. What about reducing carbon emissions? According to him, there are alternatives aside from EVs. "Given the current European energy mix, an electric car needs to drive 70,000 kilometers [43,495 miles] to compensate for the carbon footprint of manufacturing the battery and to start catching up with a light hybrid vehicle, which costs half as much as an EV [electric vehicle]," he added.

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Assuming EU and US-based automakers like General Motors still intend to go through with their bans on combustion-engined vehicles by 2035, automakers, especially those in Europe, must start now transforming their supply chains and manufacturing facilities. This is easier said than done. "The brutality of this change creates social risks," he pointed out. How so?

EVs require fewer components and are less complicated to build. This means fewer assembly line workers will be needed. Layoffs are inevitable. Tavares clarified he does not want to close down any European plants but the automaker, now the world's fourth-largest, must remain competitive. For example, Italian auto facilities are at a higher risk of closing than other European plants because of "exorbitant" energy prices in Italy.

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Tavares' hesitation towards this EV push, like that of Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, doesn't mean Stellantis won't build EVs. Take the struggling Chrysler brand, for example. It's set to become EV-only beginning in 2028. A production-spec version of the recently revealed Chrysler Airflow concept is a strong possibility. The highly profitable Jeep and Ram off-road brands are also embracing electrification. Already on sale is the Jeep Wrangler 4xe Hybrid and an all-electric Ram 1500 is due for 2024.

Many US politicians are also pushing EVs but the pace of change is slightly slower here than in Europe. But if it were up to automakers, generally speaking, the upcoming massive EV rollout probably wouldn't be happening.

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