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In recent years, the auto industry has seen an uprise in alternative fuel vehicles, starting with the standard hybrid and eventually the production of all-electric vehicles. Now the auto market is seeing hybrid and electric vehicles slowly becoming the norm. Only a few automakers started to work with alternative fuel technology at first, but now that big names like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) have entered the race, it would seem the next stage in automobile development is all-electric. The main issue? FCA has a history with struggling to meet emissions regulations, and with plans for their alternative fuel lineup to enter production, they’re pooling together with electric automaker competitor Tesla.
Fiat Chrysler Slowly Goes Electric
As the automotive industry entered a new era of vehicles and alternative fuel, it took FCA several years to test the waters. The first entry was the Fiat 500e, a vehicle that hasn’t seen much success, and caused the automaker to shy away from hybrid technology. It wasn’t until the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid that FCA had success with alternative fuel. Some may think it’s too late for the automaker to get in on the ground floor, but others would say it’s a perfect time, now that the technology is more refined and more powerful, with plug-in hybrids quickly becoming a favorite.
In the summer of 2018, the FCA Group unveiled plans to go electric over the next five years. Within the automobile group, Jeep had its own five-year plan that contained many alternative fuel variants of its vehicles, like the Jeep Compass Plug-in hybrid and Jeep Renegade plug-in hybrid at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Even more surprising, Fiat Chrysler has no intention of losing Dodge fans, with talk of Dodge going electric as well. By 2020, we might see a next-generation Dodge Charger with a battery pack doing the heavy lifting.
Before FCA releases vehicles in North America, the Italian-automaker releases vehicles at home and abides by European standards. This means also meeting rules set by the European Union for carbon-dioxide emissions regulations. The most recent target emission for vehicles in Europe is 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer, dropping from 130 g/km, by 2021. It’s much more strict than U.S. regulations, with the average of CO2 emissions projected to only drop to 172 grams per mile in the coming years. To get past this, FCA needs to bring down its own average, and the easiest way to do that is to add more electric vehicles to the fleet.
Fiat Chrysler Strikes a Deal with Tesla
Because the FCA Group has just started to develop alternative fuel vehicles, they’re a little short on electric vehicles (EVs). Although their main competitor is all-electric automaker Tesla, the automobile group made a deal with Tesla worth hundreds of millions of dollars to pool their fleet together in Europe. By grouping together, FCA won’t have to struggle as much with the European Union – the addition of Tesla cars to the fleet, vehicles that are all-electric and produce zero CO2 emissions, can bring the FCA emission average down significantly.
If some are pondering the possibility that this means a possible merger between Fiat Chrysler and Tesla, keep dreaming. According to an update on the European Commission’s website, Tesla sent out an invite to automakers who could use its important zero-emission fleet in Europe to meet regulations. FCA took up the offer, but it’s strategy, nothing more. At least for now.
What do you think? Is FCA just playing the game, or could we see a “super-platform” coming from these two automakers? Join the discussion on NowCar social media.