Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' CEO Sergio Marchionne made a surprise announcement during the company's second-quarter earnings calls last week. The company is planning to have more than half of its lineup to have electrified powertrains by 2022. Leading the charge will be Maserati which will offer some sort of electrified powertrain (hybrid and electric-only).
What caused Marchionne, a person who hasn't been a fan of electric vehicles for quite a while, to change his tune? A lot of it has to do the various emission scandals on diesel vehicles.
"What has really made the issue absolutely mandatory now is the fate of diesel … especially in Europe. Some type of electrification on gas engines is inevitable," said Marchionne.
Also, the announcement of some European countries announcing bans of gas and diesel vehicles in the coming years caused a change of heart for FCA.
“We [FCA] have been reluctant to embrace that avenue until we saw clearer the path forward," said Marchionne.
There are issues for FCA's electrified future as the variable production costs for various components (batteries, electric motors, etc) will not come down quickly. To shoulder these costs, Maserati will take the lead on this initiative.
"When it completes the development of its next two models, it will effectively switch all of its portfolio to electrification," said Marchionne.
"It's an integral part of the development of all of the group."