Stellantis CEO finally admits governments are forcing auto makers to build EVs
It was about time somebody said it out loud
I apologize in advance because this is gonna sound like a rant. That's because it is. I first drove an electric car, the Tesla Roadster S, in London in 2010 (and then again in Milan a few months later), back when nobody in Europe had even considered using electric motors for anything other than home appliances. I immediately fell in love with the car, not because it was 'green' or because it felt like a novelty, but simply because it was mind-blowingly, break-breakingly fast off the line.
Electric cars gradually but quickly gained traction and I ended up driving a bunch of them, simply because, for the longest time, nobody else really cared. Eleven years later, the merits and the failings of electric cars are clear to me. But none of this really matters because we absolutely must understand that going electric is not a deliberate choice. It is something car makers are being essentially legally required to do.
Every single EV-themed article/story I've ever written, without fail, has attracted comments of the same tenor: "electric cars are s**t", "they're not actually that green", "what about range and batteries?" Everybody knows that producing and recycling batteries is a problem. Everybody knows that range and infrastructure are still an issue. Everybody knows that the electricity you need must come from somewhere and that's not necessarily green. I've responded to every comment by saying that while everybody is entitled to their own opinion, it must be clear that this is a false choice, so whatever you and I think is irrelevant.
I want to emphasize this: car makers are building electric cars because they are being made to by governments. This is something we must understand. And I'm very happy that Carlos Tavares, CEO of the newly-born mega-group Stellantis, has finally admitted it.
During the 'Financial Times Future of the Car', summit, Tavares openly said that “the scientific decision on the choice of this technology hasn't been made by the automotive industry”. And he added that governments should carefully consider the implications and the true cost of forcing everybody to buy EVs.
He cited many reasons and made many points, all of which are extremely logical and compelling. “In one decade, mobility devices will be 300-500kg heavier than today,” Tavares said. “That will bring to the table the topic of materials. The scarcity of them and renewable ones".
"No one should forget where the decision has come from: it’s not the automotive industry. Governments are surfing on public opinion [about building more EVs], which is fine with me, but you need to understand the science, the full lifecycle analysis – not just the tailpipe emissions, which aren't the same”. He also added that quite apart from anything else, electric cars are still too expensive for the masses.
I don't know where this is gonna go. I don't know whether 10 or 20 or 30 years from now we're still going to be driving ICEs, or EVs, or horses. All I know is I hate virtue-signalling with a passion. And I hate it when institutions and/or institutionalized companies aren't transparent. It's like walking into a restaurant and looking at the menu just to be told you can't have beef or chicken and you can only have a salad because "it's good for you", when the real reason is they won't give you beef because the powers that be have decided salad is all we're getting from now. At least be honest about it. At least Tavares was, so kudos to him.