Harald Wester, CEO of Fiat Chrysler’s revitalised Maserati brand, believes the future of green motoring lies in hybrids first, and hydrogen fuel cells later.
“What the hell do you want with 400kg of battery driving around? No,” he said.
Wester, an outspoken critic of electric vehicles, previously described the zero-emissions claim attached to many EVs as “absolute nonsense”, declaring that very few are charged efficiently.
However, he believes that embracing alternative-energy technologies will be unavoidable, adding that hybrids are expected to make up 40 to 50 percent of the global premium vehicle market in the next 10 years.
Beyond that, Wester has his sights set on hydrogen power, but not before fuel-cell technology is sufficiently advanced that the reliance on a battery system can be dramatically reduced.
“You need to bring the fuel cells not only to a certain technical and performance level so that you can keep the buffer battery relatively low. You also need to bring it to an affordable economic level. But then it's the future,” Wester told Motor Trend.
“The fuel cell should generate, in low energy demand situations, everything you need to run the vehicle, and in other situations you buffer what it can't supply in the battery.”
Wester also insists that you won’t see a four-cylinder Maserati any time soon, with the company focused instead on making its existing engines more efficient.
That’s partly driven by a focus on larger cars: “we will not go to a compact sedan,” Wester said, referring to the segment known in Australia as the medium category. Think BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class. “That would be Alfa area, no?”