Finally, the last of the big three automakers is making plans for electrification. Fiat Chrysler, who has previously only made compliance electric cars, was trailing behind GM and Ford’s lineups for years. Now, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is changing course and setting goals for electrification in parts of the company’s lineup.
Marchionne said that his company was holding off on electrification until it saw “a path forward.” Now, he sees that path, at least for Maserati, which he announced will launch all electric vehicles after 2019, with half of Maserati’s portfolio going electric by 2022. As of now, Fiat Chrysler only sells the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan and the Fiat 500e, a compliance car which Marchionne has discouraged customers from buying because his company ostensibly takes a $10,000 loss on it.
Marchionne not only sees a path forward to electrification but one closing for diesel technology. The decision comes amidst both falling battery prices and increased scrutiny of diesel cars from both the public and regulators. During Fiat Chrysler’s second quarter-financial report, he cited a rising “anxiety” around diesels and a lack of support going forward.
Hopefully, Fiat Chrysler will extend this new effort to its consumer cars and get in the competition with GM and Ford. Currently, Marchionne is relying on Jeep to steady the company’s position in the North American market, but as EVs break more and more into the mainstream with the Chevy Bolt and Ford’s announced 13 new models, Fiat Chrysler shouldn’t miss out on a chance to brand itself as a producer of quality EVs as well.