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Fiat-Chrysler to wait on implementing electric and hybrid technologies

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It appears that Fiat-Chrysler has no real plans to invest in electrified powertrains in the near future, the reasons behind this choice being the low customer demand and high development costs.

In place of going for these electric and hybrid solutions, Bob Lee – global power train chief for Fiat and Chrysler – said that diesels and small-capacity turbocharged petrol engines will be making up the basis of their North American line-up.

He continued to say that many American customers want to reduce the CO2 emissions of their vehicles but at the same time aren’t willing to change their lifestyle or pay the cost. The cost obviously refers to the still-high price and limited ranges of battery packs, electric motors and chargers.

This point is taken further when one looks at the fact that the only electric vehicle offered by Fiat-Chrysler in the USA is the Fiat 500e, which is the same price as the conventionally powered 500s. This would suggest that American consumers are much more concerned about the range and maintenance expenses of electric cars than their overall cost of purchase.

It’s also worth to note that even though the North American market hasn’t been too keep on diesel-powered vehicles, Chrysler has already started to use the diesel engines made available to them from the union with Fiat. For instance, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is now being offered with a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel capable of 180kW and 560Nm, and the same engine will also be used in their Dodge Ram pick-up.

The move towards downsizing and turbocharging of both diesel and petrol engines seems to be a stop-gap measure that is being adopted by lots of European car makers, and is on paper an effective way of improving a car’s fuel consumption.

According to Lee the electric and hybrid vehicles require a great performance sacrifice when compared to small-capacity turbocharged engines.

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