FCA CEO Marchionne says Tesla, electric cars not viable

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE: FCAU] CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t exactly been an ally to electric cars. This is the same executive who urged consumers to not buy the Fiat 500e electric car since FCA lost thousands of dollars with each one sold.

Marchionne once again cast doubt on the viability of electric vehicles as a whole and said there isn’t a feasible model to make the cars profitable just yet, reports The Street“We still don’t have a viable economic model for delivering an electric car,” he said. It’s unclear if Marchionne was referring to FCA or the industry as a whole when he made the comment. 

The CEO used Tesla as an example and said despite Elon Musk’s “phenomenal job” at marketing his all-electric vehicles, he is “unconvinced of a…economic viability of the model that he’s pitching.” Marchionne added the costs of batteries and technology needed to produce battery-electric cars must come down further before a workable business case is made. Until then, he thinks plug-in and traditional hybrid cars will carry the industry.

FCA is light on electrified cars at the moment and only sells one plug-in hybrid nationwide in the United States: the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid. The Fiat 500e remains a “compliance car” for California.

Knowing Marchionne’s feelings toward battery-electric cars, we’ll likely see FCA focus its electrification efforts on mild-hybrid systems and plug-in variants. The executive previously said Maserati would lead the automaker’s electrification strategy after he told reporters all Maserati vehicles will be electrified post-2019.

How about an all-electric Ferrari? That would be “obscene,” per Marchionne.

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