Stellantis Finally Joins the EV Ranks
The giant automaker, home to brands like Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Fiat, and Peugeot, finally moves ahead with its electrification plans.
Stellantis was created in January 2021 by combining Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Groupe PSA. The new organization merged venerable automobile brands like Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep with Peugeot and Chrysler to form one of the largest automakers in the world with operations in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.
Dodge Ram 1500 Revolution. Image used courtesy of Stellantis
While other automotive giants have electrification of transportation as a top priority until now, Stellantis (along with Toyota) has yet to catch up to the others in moving forward with electric vehicle (EV) efforts. Recent announcements by Stellantis hint that the company is finally moving in the EV direction, announcing a goal to build 6 million electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) by 2025.
Electric Vehicle Technology
To reach that goal, Stellantis has unveiled its new EV platform, called eVMP (electric Vehicle Modular Platform), designed to work with both full-battery EVs and PHEVs. The EVMP platform will work with various battery pack sizes, up to 100 kilowatt-hours (kWh), and will support DC fast charging rates up to 150 kilowatts (kW). The eVMP platform forms the core of the company’s Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan—the goal is to reach 100 percent passenger electric vehicles in Europe and 50 percent passenger car and light truck electric vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2030.
New EV Products
Stellantis has introduced several new EVs in the past two years and plans several new electric vehicles over the next few years. Among these is the Citroen e-C4, an all-electric version of the Citroen C4 hatchback that was introduced in late 2021, the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, an all-electric version of the DS 3 Crossback introduced in mid-2022, and the Peugeot e-208, an all-electric version of the popular Peugeot 208 hatchback that was introduced in late 2022. Further out, the company has also shown various concepts of electrified Jeeps and a concept version of the Ram 1500 Revolution, the company’s upcoming battery-electric pickup truck that it plans to launch in 2024.
Citroen e-C4. Image used courtesy of Stellantis
To meet production needs, the company has announced that it is converting several of its existing factories to produce EVs, including a factory in France that will make the Peugeot e-208 and the Citroen e-C4, and a factory in Poland that will produce the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. The company also plans to build a new factory in Italy that will make electric drivetrains and batteries.
EV Charging Infrastructure Investments
Stellantis is also investing in charging infrastructure to support its growing EV fleet. The company has announced plans to install more than 100,000 charging points across Europe by 2025, focused on DC fast-charging stations. This will include the installation of fast-charging stations at Stellantis dealerships, as well as the deployment of mobile charging units for use in areas where charging infrastructure is limited.
The Battery Materials Dilemma
Several key materials are used to produce lithium-ion batteries, including the cathode, anode, and electrolyte. The cathode comprises metals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and manganese. The anode is typically made from carbon graphite, and the electrolyte is a solution of lithium salts dissolved into organic solvents. The choice of materials for producing lithium-ion batteries affects several important factors, including energy density, cost, and safety.
Stellantis has formed partnerships with companies specializing in lithium-ion battery technology, including CATL, one of the world's largest producers of lithium-ion batteries. In its efforts to secure a stable supply of battery raw materials, Stellantis is also committed to sustainability and responsible sourcing. This includes initiatives to ensure that the mining of lithium and other raw materials is environmentally responsible and that workers' rights are respected. The company is also working to reduce its carbon footprint and support transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
In Europe, Stellantis has joined forces with Finland-based Terrafame Ltd. to regionally supply nickel sulfate, a precursor material for the battery cathode, over the next five years as the car company moves into electrification. Terrafame supplies its nickel sulfate to EV battery makers worldwide and claims it has one of the industry’s lowest carbon footprints.
Stellantis and Element 25 Limited have also announced an agreement for Element 25 to supply battery-grade, high-purity manganese sulfate monohydrate to Stellantis for use in electric vehicle (EV) battery packs. Shipments will begin in 2026, and over five years, a total volume of 45 kilotons will be supplied to the automaker. Element 25 will source the manganese from its Butcherbird project in Western Australia.
Closer to home, Stellantis and LG Energy Solution (LGES) have agreed to establish the first large-scale, domestic, electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. They have created a joint venture company that will produce lithium-ion battery cells and battery modules to help meet the car company’s vehicle production requirements in North America. The plant, which will have an annual production capacity of 45 gigawatt-hours (GWh), is expected to begin operations in 2024.
Future Battery Tech
Further, into the future, Stellantis is working with Factorial Energy on solid-state lithium battery development. Solid-state batteries do away with the flammable liquid electrolyte used in conventional lithium-ion batteries and are considered safer. They also can use a thin plate of lithium metal as an anode instead of graphite and can thus produce greater amounts of energy with greater charge capacity. Solid-state batteries have become a Holy Grail for the auto industry, and Factorial is just one of several companies chasing this prize.
Image used courtesy of Factorial Energy
Stellantis is also involved in hydrogen fuel cell development. Stellantis will announce the closing of a deal with Faurecia (of Group FORVIA) and Michelin to acquire a “substantial stake” in their joint venture Symbio. Stellantis has already worked with Symbio to produce a mid-size hydrogen-powered van launched last year. The fuel cell focus, for now, is on light- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and potential fleet sales, with hydrogen-powered passenger cars not really in the cards.
Beyond traditional vehicles that travel on the ground, Stellantis is also looking to take to the air, having joined forces with Archer Aviation to build the company’s flagship electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, called the Midnight. Stellantis will provide its manufacturing technology to help develop the aircraft company’s new plant in Covington, Georgia. Electric powertrain and certification experts at Stellantis will also help develop the electric propulsion system for Midnight. The eVTOL is designed to be safe, sustainable, and quiet, has an expected payload of over 1,000 pounds, and can carry four passengers plus a pilot over a range of up to 100 miles. Stellantis will be the exclusive mass-production manufacturer of Archer’s Midnight.
Image used courtesy of Archer Aviation
Stellantis has finally gotten the message that the transportation world is changing, and electrification is already upon us. The company seems to be on the right course, but only time will tell if they will reach their goals.