The automotive industry has taken a deep dive shifting into the fully electric hemisphere. Rivian, Ford, and GM are all doing or already have done what it takes to produce fully electric vehicles. Stellantis on the other hand has had its eye on the bigger picture all along. The multinational and multi-brand car company CEO Carlos Tavares has spoken of the implications, consequences, and corrective action needed to sustain a so-called “all-electric future.” In a recent sit-down with journalists at a New York hotel, Tavares spoke openly about the climate of the auto industry. And while his remarks were not what anybody would call “anti-EV,” the Stellantis CEO certainly poured some cold water on the electrification hype.
It’s easy to get into a debate as to whether or not fully electric vehicles have their place in the world, especially coming from an author of Muscle Cars & Trucks nonetheless. That being said, Tavares drives home some interesting points no matter what side of the fence you may sit on. For starters, the vocal Stellantis CEO has been calling out politicians for inadvertently forcing auto manufactures to effectively produce electric vehicles alone, without a thought of what that actually means. Famously, Tavares stated that the decision to go electric was “chosen by politicians and not by the industry”.
Electric vehicles at the moment pose several consumer-facing problems. Perhaps primarily, the cost of EV production is 40% higher than their ICE counterparts.
“We can’t just pass those costs on to consumers because we would lose half of our customer base. We can’t stop the middle class from having access to new cars. So because of regulations we have no choice but to absorb that 40%,” he said.
Hence why Tavares sees the need to keep pricing “artificially affordable” with the help of subsidies. But is the entire industry expected to survive on this model? And for how long? These government tax breaks and subsidies only initially were used to stimulate early adoption. Not to prop up an entire industry.
In addition, Tavares calls on manufacturers, his included, to create less heavy, more efficient electric vehicles with longer range to aid in achieving carbon neutrality from top to bottom. The sourcing of raw materials isn’t exactly eco-friendly, and admits that the industry at large had underestimated just how much materials would be required.
Lastly, Tavares said in regard to electrics, that recycling batteries will be an absolute especially given the finite nature of necessary raw materials. Stretching out the supply of necessary battery materials would be the implementation of hybrid vehicles, which would allow for a far more efficient use of engines and far less dependance on expensive rare earth metals. And Tavares isn’t alone on this one. Executives at Toyota see it this way, too. If only the politicians would get on board.