Jul 9, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Auto giant Stellantis makes its move on EVs

Illustration of a $1 bill on a car.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The huge automaker Stellantis — whose brands include Dodge, Peugeot, Jeep, Citroën, Opel and more — is pouring over $35 billion into vehicle electrification efforts through 2025, it announced Thursday.

  • They include an EV from Dodge, the North American performance division, coming in 2024. (Slogan: "Tear Up the Streets… Not the Planet.")

Why it matters: The company, formed via the recent merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and PSA Group, is the world's fourth-largest automaker.

  • But FCA had been slower than some other behemoths to launch headlong into EVs. Former boss Sergio Marchionne, who died in 2018, was an outspoken EV critic.
  • The announcement adds to the list of automakers including GM, Ford, VW and others with EV programs running into the tens of billions of dollars.

The big picture: "It’s now clear the world’s largest automakers are in an intense battle to rapidly deploy this tech and capture EV market share as the world pivots toward electric drivetrains and away from internal combustion engines," iSeeCars.com analyst Karl Brauer said.

Driving the news: Here are some highlights of the plan, based on their release and coverage of the rollout...

  • Electrified models of various types (not all fully electric) across its 14 brands, supported by four separate manufacturing platforms for vehicles of different sizes.
  • Per CNBC, a target of 40 all-electric models and 15 plug-in hybrids in Europe and the U.S. by 2025.
  • There's a Ram electric pickup coming in 2024, while Stellantis is also planning various electric models for brands focused on Europe and other markets.
  • Stellantis hopes to have 70% of European sales and 40% of U.S. sales from "low emission" vehicles by 2030, which per AP means fully electric or plug-in models.
  • They plan to source batteries and components from five "gigafactories" in Europe and North America.

The intrigue: The industry is making big bets on tech that remains a very small — albeit growing — share of the market.

  • It's rooted in a mix of tightening regulations in Europe and likely the U.S., pressure to act on climate change, pro-EV policies in China (the world's largest auto market), and wider global plans to transition away from traditional cars.
  • For Stellantis, the large European-focused side of the merged company is important to its new EV plan, Cox Automotive analyst Michelle Krebs tells Axios.
  • "Electrification is a lot more important in Europe than it is in the U.S.," she said, citing emissions regulations and growing consumer incentives.

Yes, but: But nobody has a perfect crystal ball or anything close on how quickly the EV future will arrive.

  • "They [Stellantis] are behind, but I am a bit skeptical about those way out there in front too," Krebs said.
  • She notes that batteries won't become the dominant propulsion system any time soon, certainly not this decade.
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