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Tech companies venturing into electric vehicles: Sony, Apple, and more

Apple electric vehicle

Why would companies that manufacture phones, like Sony or Apple, want to get into the electric vehicle business? A better question to ask is, “why wouldn’t they?” While electric vehicles have only just begun to corner a small portion of the automobile market, the upside of prospective growth is tremendous. As vehicles become more reliant on batteries, wiring, and programming in lieu of combustion engines, companies like Sony and Apple feel they have enough knowledge and expertise to take a crack at an electric vehicle of their own.

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Global semiconductor shortage could stymie EV manufacturers in 2021

semiconductor shortage

As the world enters 2021 with a cautious optimism, its global markets are still feeling many of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic that have yet to be eradicated. Many people have pivoted toward remote work. This has increased smartphone and laptop demand, leading to shortages of essential components like semiconductors. One industry that is beginning to experience the impact of these shortages is automakers. If semiconductor manufacturers can’t catch up, it could spell more delays for several major automotive companies.

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2021 Fiat 500e first drive — Could this Italian icon tempt you to go electric?

It’s fair to say that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) hasn’t been the fastest off the mark when it comes to electric cars. With the lead-footedness displayed across all its brands — Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, and Ram — you could be forgiven for thinking that the Italian-American multinational simply isn’t interested in having an electric future. Or a future at all.

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Dodge debuts 710-horsepower V8 SUV but says Hellcat engines are doomed

Fiat Chrysler has demonstrated nearly no interest in making electric cars. Meanwhile, just in time for the July 4 holiday, its Dodge brand has introduced a fire-breathing, supercharged, gas-guzzling 710-horsepower full-size SUV. It can seat seven, tow nearly 9,000 pounds, and hit 180 miles per hour. And it could be the last hurrah for the Hellcat engine.

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Should plug-in hybrids be forced into EV mode in cities? Fiat tests the tech

Many automakers seeking to comply with stringent emissions rules are selling plug-in hybrids instead of pure electric vehicles. And yet there’s no guarantee that plug-in hybrid owners will regularly plug in. The answer could be a geofence system that automatically forces off the combustion engine when a plug-in hybrid enters a city zone. Fiat Chrysler announced today that it’s testing that technology in Turin, Italy.



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Alfa Romeo promises small electric SUV by 2022

Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has been very slow to introduce electric cars. The Chrysler brand has the 22-mile Pacifica minivan plug-in hybrid, and the new Fiat 500e is coming back to the US next year. But its other brands — Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati ­— continue to tease plans that are taking a long time to materialize. Now there’s news that Alfa Romeo, FCA’s sporty Italian brand, will introduce a plug-in hybrid SUV next year, followed by an all-electric compact SUV in 2022



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New electric Fiat 500 goes green bonkers with claims of eco-revolution and a pebble key fob

The new Fiat 500e was slated for its launch in early March at the canceled Geneva International Motor Show. Instead, Fiat chief Olivier François stars in an 18-minute virtual press conference for the new 500, which is exclusively electric. What unfolds in those few minutes is a jaw-dropping display of greenwashing, complete with a natural pebble key fob, melodic EV pedestrian acoustics, Leo DiCaprio name-drops, a paint job that supposedly cleans the air, and claims of an eco-revolution.



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Strange bedfellows: Fiat-Chrysler and Faraday Future working together on electric vehicles

Electric Jeep

Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) is in discussions about using EV technology from Faraday Future and Seres (formerly SF Motors), according to a report last week by The Verge. Current and former FCA employees said that Faraday Future retrofitted FCA vehicles with its electric powertrain and started road testing. That effort follows months of reported meetings between FCA and Faraday Future. With an FCA-Peugeot merger in the works, are we seeing signs of a new EV consolidated effort?



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Tesla (TSLA) is going to get up to $2 billion from Fiat-Chrysler to meet emission standards

Tesla (TSLA) montreal

We recently learned that Tesla and Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) reached a deal to pool their fleet together in Europe for the purpose of the latter avoiding emission requirement fines.

It was first reported to be worth a few hundred million dollars, but FCA now says that it will pay Tesla up to $2 billion for the emission credits.

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Waymo orders 62,000 Chrysler Pacificas as Fiat Chrysler in talks on selling self-driving cars

After ordering thousands of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans in January, Waymo is drastically expanding its self-driving fleet with an 62,000 more vehicles. It comes ahead of the Alphabet division’s first ride service this year, while the company is also in discussions to allow others to sell cars that feature its autonomous technology.



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Jeep will make an electric Wrangler in 2020

Jeep CEO Mike Manley announced at their LA Auto Show press conference that the new Jeep Wrangler will include a plug-in option in 2020.

Jeep has shown a plug-in hybrid concept before, the Yuntu SUV which they displayed at the 2017 Shanghai auto show.  And there have been rumors for some time that the Wrangler, Jeep’s most iconic vehicle, would eventually gain a hybrid powertrain.



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Bloomberg: Google’s self-driving tech will be in 2017 Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid minivans

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Four months ago, Chrysler unveiled its 2017 Pacifica minivan range at the Detroit Auto Show. If a report from Bloomberg is anything to go by, this Pacifica Hybrid range could feature Google’s self-driving technology, bringing weeks/months of rumors to fruition. The deal could be signed by Tuesday…



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Fiat Chrysler CEO opens up on potential Google or Apple partnership to build cars

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The automotive industry is a capital-intensive industry. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne knows it and that’s why he is open to work with Google or Apple:

“Google can buy every automaker out of petty cash. And Apple — they made a net profit of $24 billion in one quarter. This is nonsense. What are we defending? What?”

In a not yet released 2-hour interview with Automobile Mag‘s Georg Kache, Marchionne discusses the recent rumors of a FCA partnership with Google for self-driving cars and how the automaker wants to position itself in an industry disrupted by the likes of Apple, Google, Tesla and Uber. 

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Fiat Chrysler CEO says he will copy Tesla’s Model 3 if Musk can make a profit off it

model 3 wild

We’ve reported on comments by GM and Nissan officials about the recent unveiling of the Tesla Model 3 and the following storm of reservations. While Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn had a normal and decent reaction to the event, GM’s Vice President of Global Propulsion Systems, Dan Nicholson, was significantly less gracious than his colleague.

But now it’s Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s turn to comment and he doesn’t disappoint.

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