Automotive CEOs for years warned that making electric cars would devastate profits. They are now saying the margins on them may not be so bad after all.
Executives from Ford to Volkswagen Group have made bullish statements on their electric forays in recent weeks, forecasting that battery-powered cars will be as profitable as combustion-engine models around mid-decade.
Until recently, automakers at times openly lamented the massive cost of developing electric drivetrains and retooling factories. They built halfheartedly designed EVs that were limited in range and expensive to make, with Fiat Chrysler's former CEO, Sergio Marchionne, going so far as to plead with customers not to buy a model that lost the company money.
Now that manufacturers are churning out models purpose-built to be electric and benefiting from falling battery prices, the returns are looking much better.
"There are even signs that the EV business could be at least as good as the business with the conventional cars," Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert said during a March 16 earnings call.