Stellantis CEO vows to speed up electric shift

Newly-created automotive group Stellantis will offer electrified versions of almost all of its European lineup by 2025, as the industry faces regulatory pushes in Europe and China to accelerate the shift to zero-emission cars.

Formed in January by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group, Stellantis has 14 brands including Jeep, Peugeot, Opel, Ram and Maserati, and like its peers faces an investor community keen for a road map to an electric line-up to rival Tesla.

Speaking during Stellantis’ first annual meeting Thursday, CEO Carlos Tavares said that in 2021 the automaker expects sales of electrified vehicles — both plug-in hybrid cars and full-electric models — to more than triple to over 400,000 units in 2021.

By 2025, electrified vehicles should make up 38 percent of European sales, a huge jump from the 14 percent of sales it expects in 2021.

Tavares said by 2030 electrified models should make up 70 percent of European sales and 35 percent of U.S. sales.

He said Stellantis will use four electric platforms for passenger vehicles across its 14-brand empire — small, medium and large sizes for cars, and “frame” for high-margin SUVs and pickup trucks.

Sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars in the European Union almost trebled to over 1 million vehicles last year, accounting for more than 10 percent of overall sales.

Battery push

Stellantis aims to reach those targets with a series of electrified platforms, Tavares said, while a decision to develop additional battery factories in Europe and North America could be made this year. The manufacturer hopes to secure 250 gigawatt-hours of battery capacity by the end of the decade, according to a presentation.

The company will brief investors further on its strategy for EVs, battery supplies and related technology on July 8.

Tavares has come around to EVs only reluctantly, saying in 2018 that PSA believed “wholeheartedly in electric cars because that’s what we have been asked to make.” He has emphasized flexible manufacturing platforms to underpin cars that use all types of energy and is also moving into hydrogen vehicles.

Stellantis has projected optimism for its first year of operation, and Tavares reiterated an outlook for improved profitability and vehicle sales in 2021. Still, the CEO is under pressure to improve the company’s lackluster performance in China, where car sales are rebounding.

Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.

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