May 26, 2024

Image for article titled EV mandates will 'kill' the car industry, Stellantis CEO says

Photo: Stellantis

Jurisdictions around the world are imposing EV mandates, regulating ICE vehicles out of production and sale. This is probably a necessary step to prevent us all from drowning in our homes, but the folks who sell ICE vehicles aren’t happy about it. Case in point: Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, speaking to a group of UK journalists, claimed the country’s EV mandates would “kill” its car industry.

Tavares seems to understand part of the mandate’s purpose — killing off internal combustion vehicles — but there’s a more interesting section to his words. He told Autocar that the mandate itself isn’t a bad idea, but it should be more in line with how sales are going anyway:

Speaking to UK journalists from Stellantis’s small-van factory at Ellesmere Port, Tavares agreed with the logic behind this notion, saying “I think the fact that they’re imposing a ramp-up of [EV sales] makes sense” but adding: “The problem is the magnitude and the positioning of the ZEV mandate vis-à-vis the natural demand of the market.”

A mandate that doesn’t exceed current market conditions isn’t really a functional or useful mandate. The point is to shift the industry, to change those market conditions, but that’s not the kind of move that automakers want. They want to keep building what sells now, for those sweet sweet quarterly profits, rather than building what will sell in the future.

If sales naturally outpace the minimums set by regulatory bodies, then those minimums don’t require enforcement. If institutions are willing to lower their minimums to meet the demands of corporations, then those requirements may as well not actually exist. Mandates in line with market demand are a smart ask from Tavares, because that’s the kind of business-speak that almost sounds meaningful until you think about it — once you do, though, it all falls apart.

A version of this article originally appeared on Jalopnik.

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