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Is Fiat-Chrysler CEO ready to embrace electric cars after all?

2015 Fiat 500e
Peter Braun/Digital Trends
Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been a vocal skeptic about electric vehicles over the past few years. Notably, he famously urged customers not to buy a Fiat 500e because the carmaker loses about $10,000 every time it sells one. It sounds like the executive is on the verge of changing his mind, however.

Marchionne sees room in the Fiat-Chrysler lineup for a high-performance EV capable of keeping up with the Tesla Model S. Developing a battery-electric vehicle from scratch is costly, and easier said than done, so the yet-unnamed model will likely be based on the upcoming production version of the Maserati Alfieri concept that debuted in 2014. Like the Alfieri, the EV will take the form of a sleek-looking high-end coupe.

At the other end of the automotive spectrum, Fiat is toying around with the idea of introducing an electric city car in Europe. The model would be groundbreaking because it would be the first series-produced battery-powered Fiat sold on the other side of the pond. Details about the model are few and far between, but it likely won’t share any components with the 500e (pictured) that’s currently sold in a handful of U.S. states because the current-gen 500 will be axed before the EV comes to life.

Fiat-Chrysler’s top executive made it clear that he’s still not a die-hard supporter of electrification.

“I’m not as convinced as some others are about the fact that electrification is the solution for all of man’s ills. We need to experiment, as we are doing now with connected cars and mobility, as electrification is one of the potential answers,” he said in an interview with trade journal Automotive News.

Marchionne added that the electric Alfieri won’t arrive until after he retires in 2019. As for the city car, a time frame hasn’t been given yet.

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