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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys, here is another article. This one is on eTorque and what FCA would need to do to change existing view on hybrids in general.

Here is the a link to the article itself: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/changing-how-we-view-hybrids-aldo-martin/?published=t

Below is the article text for those who do not have a LinkedIn account.

As always, feel free to comment and discuss.

Enjoy!


Photo: jeep.com

CHANGING HOW WE VIEW HYBRIDS

Over the years Toyota, and most other volume automakers, have positioned hybrid technology as a "green" fuel-saving application that requires significant compromises in performance. I.e., we buy a hybrid mainly to save fuel with the underlying expectation that we will sacrifice performance.

Despite their green image, research shows that consumers' primary motivation to buy a hybrid vehicle is to save money on fuel. But the average premium they have to pay for a hybrid is $3,000 over a comparable gasoline-powered vehicle. In the end, positioning hybrid technology on fuel economy benefits alone has proved insufficient, restricting sales to around 10% of total. By contrast, the value proposition of diesel engines, particularly among truck buyers, has long been that in exchange for a much higher purchase price they get (1) greater capability –in the form of strong low-end torque, (2) longer durability and (3) increased fuel efficiency. The key understanding being that diesels, particularly on trucks, require no compromises in performance.

Premium automakers like Porsche and others are trying to change perceptions by positioning hybrids as a performance-enhancing application. However, high prices and limited demand for those high-end models have hindered their ability to change consumers' views.


AN INNOVATION HAPPENS WHEN THE BENEFITS OF TWO SEPARATE CATEGORIES FUSE INTO ONE[1]


As the ongoing success of the crossover vehicle (CUV) reminds us, consumers are willing to pay more to get more. By fusing the best traits of the car –e.g., fuel efficiency, smoother ride, more responsive handling, more efficient interior packaging, etc., with the best traits of the SUV –e.g., a higher seating position for easier entry/exit and outward visibility, all-weather capability, greater cargo utility, the perception of a more active lifestyle, etc., CUVs have not only grown in popularity but raised average transaction prices at the same time.

Hybrid technology is no different: it is an innovation that fuses the benefits of the gasoline engine –e.g., existing infrastructure and widespread availability, fast refuelling, long driving range, proven performance, with those of the electric motor –e.g., clean and quiet operation, instant torque, overall efficiency, etc. Hybrid’s resulting combined set of benefits is greater than either the gasoline engine or the electric motor can deliver by itself. It is precisely this greater set of benefits that make hybrid technology a worthwhile innovation for which consumers should be willing to pay more, were it to be positioned properly.


COME eTORQUE

FCA’s launch of a mild hybrid technology branded eTorque could be the start of something new –please read detailed article here Wrangler’s stunning advance in fuel economy

By offering eTorque on Jeep Wrangler –which is a relatively affordable, volume model—and reportedly on Ram pickups, it offers a unique marketing opportunity to shift how consumers view hybrid technology once and for all.

According to www.jeep.com the price premium for eTorque currently is $1,000, which is two-thirds lower than what consumers pay for most other hybrids. That alone should help market acceptance. But it will require a concerted marketing effort to overcome 20 years of having conditioned consumers to think of hybrids as fuel misers full of compromises. To that effect, FCA needs to position eTorque as much more: as a performance-enhancing application that delivers superior capability, greater range –which itself is of great benefit when venturing off-road, AND also happens to deliver increased fuel efficiency.

In my opinion, giving it a $1,000 premium and calling it “eTorque” instead of “hybrid” are a good start.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments at
[email protected]


_______________________________________
[1] Per GfK’s innovation practice
 

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My ram gets respectable fuel economy on the highway or anywhere i can maintain speed. But in my town it is stop and go every few blocks, I'm lucky to average 9 mpg. I see E-Torque as a big help driving where i live.
 

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There’s no doubt a benefit here and if trouble free and affordable, I’m all for it. I think FCA should grab eTorque like grim death and advertise the hell out of it. I think it’s a great compromise and decent tech too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Did that come before or after my article? ;) I think you got to the point more directly.

Hybrids and muscle go together
Ha! I hadn’t seen it. Thank you for sharing.

When Lexus positioned the LS hybrid sedan above the V8 sedan, as equivalent to the Germans’ V12 flagship sedans, shoppers couldn’t understand the value proposition. They were confused by Lexus’s strategy to charge 30% more for a hybrid sedan which they thought, in accordance to Toyota’s definition of hybrid technology, was simply more fuel efficient. In the end, there very few takers.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Porsche has been more obvious in positioning hybrids as a performance application. However, the volume of those models remains too low to change market perceptions. That’s why a FCA has a unique challenge to change consumers’ perceptions, and opportunity to redefine hybrids by offering eTorque as a capability-enhancing option through capability-oriented volume models like Wrangler and Ram.

But FCA needs to jump into it with its eyes wide open. eTorque is going to encounter natural market resistance from deeply rooted perceptions of hybrids as fuel efficient vehicles with marginal performance; and the auto media is only going to perpetuate this.

Simply adding eTorque to the “Build and Price” section of the Jeep and Ram web pages with a bunch of technical jumbo-jumbo is not going to do it. If FCA hopes to overcome these perceptions and redefine hybrid technology it needs a concerted marketing effort that articulates clearly the performance benefits of eTorque.
 

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Mercedes really isn’t marketing the performance aspect of their similar hybrid engine either. Definitely seems to be more an efficiency thing for them too. Their AMG 3.0-liter inline-six pumps out 384 lb-ft of torque and is backed by Mercedes’ EQ Boost starter/alternator, which can add another 21 horses and 184 lb-ft when not feeding the 48-volt electrical system.

Much like some of FCA’s offerings, maybe it’s becauae consumers already expect a healthy amount of muscle but the economy is a plus?
 

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I like the eTorque engineering work as I see value in adding low end torque, but let’s be honest, these are still gas engine primary drive vehicles.
The article did not source their data and the 10% claim is roughly triple the hard numbers I saw for electric primary drive (including hybrid) vehicles.

The eTorque system is great technology for those who do a lot of towing as it obviates the need for winding out the engine (for us stick shift folks) to pull off the line fully loaded or it increases the capacity for an automatic trans (if I understand it correctly). However, if the purpose is to nudge people toward electric primary drive vehicles, I don’t favor the chances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I see the primary driving role shifting from gas to electric over time, as technology improvements are made to the system.

But consumers first need to see tangible benefits from buying hybrids. The status quo is not working too well. It's a tough sell to ask consumers to spend more money upfront to spend less money on fuel over time.
 

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"of hybrids as fuel misers full of compromises" Example Pacifica Hybrid. I wanted to get a Hybrid Pacifica but....no power folding mirrors(the Pacifica is 4 inches wider than my 300), no HID headlights( I am a senior with mediocre night vision), no memory seats with easy enter(I have had that on my last four Chryslers)..
Of course, the battery does not allow fold and go. So I am ordering a non hybrid Pacifica.
 

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Nice article. Thank you for posting!

Am kinda afraid to speak on this subject as am just not sold on the concept. Oh, I don't mind electric motors and the like, It's just I'm not too fond of battery powered vehicles. There are arguments on both sides of the fence supporting and against batteries. Reason I am not sold is there are still too many valid points against them. Without going into a dissertation, the impact on our environment producing and disposing of batteries, the lack of battery life, the complexities of the system, are just reasons.

Please don't shoot me, but I realize at SOME point, fossil fuels have got to be replaced. Water, garbage, corn, etc. are all valid replacements and I just simply do not understand why these are not being examined for valid replacements. My understanding is Brazil uses corn and uses little if any outside fossil fuels. their climate, population, etc. may be a reason they are successful, but can't we do better?

Electric motors have , in my opinion, a very valid and immediate benefit to consumers. They have fewer parts but it seems we need a better source for powering them. I'm just not sold on batteries being the answer yet. I'm hedging there's something out there that is MUCH better that just doesn't have the financial push to come to the forefront as a viable option.

The intent of this post is the hope to open for discussion if okay so folks like me can understand the good and the bad please. Absolutely ZERO intentions of indicating who is right or wrong. One thing I learned in college is, that if you want to learn and fully understand, regardless of wether you agree or disagree, take the opposing view in a polite and humble manner. You'd be surprised what you can learn. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Thank you.

Yes, Brazil has been producing ethanol out of biomass like sugar cane and corn for decades. We tried corn here 10+ years ago, but it drove foodstuff prices through the roof. Soon enough people were complaining about corporate greed and starving the poor. Brazil, for its part, has been clearing the Amazon to open it up for development, and now has huge oil reserves right offshore.

It’s a complicated topic, for sure.
 
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Am kinda afraid to speak on this subject as am just not sold on the concept. Oh, I don't mind electric motors and the like, It's just I'm not too fond of battery powered vehicles. There are arguments on both sides of the fence supporting and against batteries. Reason I am not sold is there are still too many valid points against them. Without going into a dissertation, the impact on our environment producing and disposing of batteries, the lack of battery life, the complexities of the system, are just reasons.
I read a good article a while back that took all of that into consideration and still found that electric vehicles had less of a negative impact on the environment than gas powered vehicles. Don't remember what site it was on, but there is a study on that topic somewhere that came out in favor of electric vehicles.

I have a feeling the idea that electric vehicles more harmful to the environment is largely a myth propagated by people who are biased against electric vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I read a good article a while back that took all of that into consideration and still found that electric vehicles had less of a negative impact on the environment than gas powered vehicles. Don't remember what site it was on, but there is a study on that topic somewhere that came out in favor of electric vehicles.

I have a feeling the idea that electric vehicles more harmful to the environment is largely a myth propagated by people who are biased against electric vehicles.
Yes, there may be a bias against EVs. But I doubt it is a concerted effort. Most likely, it is just a natural human reaction towards things unfamiliar.

Again, the more reason for FCA to take the iniative and market eTorque through a concerted effort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I remember years ago, circa 1981, Chrysler Corporarion inserted a multi-page information booklet in the magazines, explaining what FWD was, how it worked, and extolling its many virtues.

It was very expensively made, no doubt: it had easy to understand graphics, looked very professional, printed on glossy paper, and you could detach it, read it at your leisure and even pass it on to others. Chrysler, along with GM, Ford, Toyota and Honda, sold an entire generation on the virtues of FWD. But I don’t recall anyone, besides Chrysler, doing such an awesome job explaining the benefits of FWD technology to mainstream consumers.

eTorque needs a 21st century equivalent of such a communications effort, if FCA hopes to convert mainstream consumers who have grown skeptical of “hybrids”.
 
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I read a good article a while back that took all of that into consideration and still found that electric vehicles had less of a negative impact on the environment than gas powered vehicles. Don't remember what site it was on, but there is a study on that topic somewhere that came out in favor of electric vehicles.

I have a feeling the idea that electric vehicles more harmful to the environment is largely a myth propagated by people who are biased against electric vehicles.

Hi Ryan, I've been studying and have not drawn a full conclusion but here is just one of many links that may have an opposing view: Environmental Problems That Batteries Cause (at https://sciencing.com/environmental-problems-batteries-cause-7584347.html )
Please forgive, not saying electric is not a viable alternative, just what powers the motors is what I am just not comfortable with.

I agree with you and everyone here that I want F.C.A. to grab the bull by the horns and be the first or among the first to develop the best and test technology, but I do not want F.C.A. to take a chance a lose funds or gain debt on what may be a high risk scenario.

Am hoping another source of power can be located. Perhaps something totally different.

More things that concern me are: 1. At some point, when an employer gets tired of paying higher electric bills...... 2. At some point retail stores might get tired of paying higher electric bills...... etc. .......fees to access and re-charge are created...... catch my point? Should the government decide to subsidize electricity in a method to cover the cost..... guess who pays the fees....... all of us...... will it be a savings at that point over fossil fuel?

We could go on and on.... but I dunno...... again, am just hoping someone who has a better energy source is found/discovered and F.C.A. goes that route instead..... for every positive study, there appears to be an opposing view on batteries.

Again, please note, >NOT< arguing..... just wish to discuss. I just don't see, at this point, how batteries are a long-term viable option. Am no expert for sure. Just want to see things go right for F.C.A. for awhile..... that's all. Lots of hard work has taken place and just want them to make the correct decisions. Am just worried.
 

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Hi Ryan, I've been studying and have not drawn a full conclusion but here is just one of many links that may have an opposing view: Environmental Problems That Batteries Cause (at https://sciencing.com/environmental-problems-batteries-cause-7584347.html )
Please forgive, not saying electric is not a viable alternative, just what powers the motors is what I am just not comfortable with.

I agree with you and everyone here that I want F.C.A. to grab the bull by the horns and be the first or among the first to develop the best and test technology, but I do not want F.C.A. to take a chance a lose funds or gain debt on what may be a high risk scenario.

Am hoping another source of power can be located. Perhaps something totally different.

More things that concern me are: 1. At some point, when an employer gets tired of paying higher electric bills...... 2. At some point retail stores might get tired of paying higher electric bills...... etc. .......fees to access and re-charge are created...... catch my point? Should the government decide to subsidize electricity in a method to cover the cost..... guess who pays the fees....... all of us...... will it be a savings at that point over fossil fuel?

We could go on and on.... but I dunno...... again, am just hoping someone who has a better energy source is found/discovered and F.C.A. goes that route instead..... for every positive study, there appears to be an opposing view on batteries.

Again, please note, >NOT< arguing..... just wish to discuss. I just don't see, at this point, how batteries are a long-term viable option. Am no expert for sure. Just want to see things go right for F.C.A. for awhile..... that's all. Lots of hard work has taken place and just want them to make the correct decisions. Am just worried.
Did a search and found my post referencing this article:

EVs Beat Gas Cars Even When Emissions from Production are Included (at https://www.technologyreview.com/s/517146/are-electric-vehicles-better-for-the-environment-than-gas-powered-ones/ )

From the article:
The study found that while the environmental impact of making electric vehicles is greater than for making gas and diesel vehicles, this is more than made up for by the greater impact of gas and diesel vehicles while they’re being used. This is true in terms of total energy consumption, use of resources, greenhouse gases, and ozone pollution. The electric vehicles were assumed to be charged from a grid that includes significant amounts of fossil fuels.
Kind of an interesting study. I do think that electric vehicles have more of a future than hydrogen vehicles for reasons discussed in another thread. It's just up to the automakers to implement hybrid and electric technology in a way that piques interest.
 

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I’ve read a few articles regarding using algae to produce ethanol, as well as other biofuels. There is great potential benefit to this method, as well as many logistical and developmental hurdles to overcome. Nonetheless, it’s food for thought.

NASA Uses Algae to Turn Sewage Into Fuel (at https://www.space.com/7679-nasa-algae-turn-sewage-fuel.html )

Biofuels from algae: challenges and potential (at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3152439/ )

Recent progress and future challenges in algal biofuel production (at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5054820/ )
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
  1. Lexus already tried positioning hybrid as a performance application on its flagship sedan to compete against German V12s; that didn't stick.
  2. Honda tried positioning hybrid as the top-dog Accord, quicker than the V6; that didn't stick.
  3. Porsche and other luxury automakers are trying to position hybrid as a performance application on their high-end vehicles with limited impact on the market overall.
Every time hybrid fails as a performance application is because consumers remain stuck in a value proposition defined by fuel economy, and do not understand the value proposition of hybrid as a performance technology.

It could be that FCA has better luck applying hybrids to trucks this time around. But both DCX and GM already tried that ten years ago and didn't stick either.

The road to widespread consumer adoption of hybrids is littered with too many misses already for FCA to not include a more aggressive communications campaign this time.
 
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