The University of Toronto recently awarded Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne with an honorary degree in industrial engineering, and during the ceremony he delivered a rather sobering message to students. Marchionne stated that electric vehicles are “not the solution for the future,” and fully-autonomous vehicles will be here in a decade. Bold claims from Mr. Marchionne, though the exec never shies away from speaking his mind.
“We believe that autonomous guidance will be a reality in a decade,” said Marchionne. “Advanced guidance systems will play a crucial role in preparing lawmakers, consumers, and businesses for a world where control of the car will be passed into the hands of the car itself.”
CEO Sergio Marchionne also hinted that Maserati vehicles could pioneer this autonomous driving technology, and it’ll trickle down to other vehicles as the automaker refines its functionality. He also seemed to suggest that FCA could offer a Level 3 system by 2021, while Level 4 and 5 systems are expected to take longer as they depend on missing infrastructure more so than software programming.
As for electric vehicles, it seems that Marchionne thinks they are too costly and he reminded his audience of the deadweight the Fiat 500E created. Each unit sold resulted in a $20,000 loss even though the car sold out during its California-only launch back in 2013.
Of course, we can’t see the future, so of we can’t say if Sergio is right or wrong. It seems that electrical vehicles have a pretty strong push behind them, but a product won’t last if manufacturers consistently struggle to turn a profit. What are your thoughts on the matter? Speak to us in the comment section below.
Source: Il Sole 24 Ore (in Italian)