With a massive push by the EU, manufacturers are looking to reduce their environmental footprint,. By 2021 they are expected to have reduced emissions by 40% compared to 2007. Different companies approach the problem in different ways. Some are re-aligning their models, some are rapidly developing electronic vehicles and some, like FCA, are paying a substantial sum to another manufacturer so they can pool their resources and reduce their average. That manufacturer is Tesla, who clearly have a zero emissions. So that should help, providing they can produce enough vehicles to make a meaningful dent on Fiat and its sister company Chrysler and their output.
And Fiat Chrysler has been in the courts quite a lot recently, especially over in the US. First of all, it settled a lawsuit brought by an Illinois dealer group who had accused it of putting undue pressure to manipulate monthly sales reports. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but FCA was accused of encouraging dealers to falsify reports and making their performance look rather better than it was. And the bad legal news did not end there. As they have also agreed to pay $110 million to settle a long standing lawsuit around safety issues and excess diesel emissions. (Where have we heard that before). While it continues to deny the charges, the company also paid nearly $800 million in fines and costs in January regarding emissions software. It’s been quite an expensive year so far.
Lest we wonder whether there is just simply too much hype around electronic vehicles and their current preeminence, at least in the press, the Financial Times carries a series of articles today regarding Formula E, and the challenge it presents to Formula One. Something that originally looked a little quirky and more like dodgems at the fairground than a serious racing formula, Formula E has continued to develop and is now very much part of the racing scene. No one is suggesting that it will take over from Formula One, though a number have manufacturers, including Mercedes, have joined the stable. At the very least it is a useful testing ground for future technology. And no one wants to miss out.
Have a great weekend, it will be great to watch the Masters rather than listen to reports about our current non-exit from the EU.
Use your imagination not to scare yourself to death but to inspire yourself to life.
A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.
The advice of friends must be received with a judicious reserve; we must not give ourselves up to it and follow it blindly, whether right or wrong.
What you cannot enforce, do not command.
Sophocles (496 BC – 406 BC)
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