Jeep will lead the charge when it comes to electrification in North America, largely because of the success of the 4xe plug-in hybrid models introduced to date, Stellantis chief executive officer Carlos Tavares said. By 2025, every Jeep model will have a battery electric powertrain option. It is a good fit, Tavares said. Jeep is the brand of freedom, off-road adventure, and respect for nature, all of which is amplified in a vehicle that runs silently and has zero emissions.
Tavares, who addressed the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, Michigan, said he has a long design session tomorrow to validate many of the electric vehicle ideas Stellantis has in the works. This includes EVs for Ram and Dodge.
Futuristic Electric Ram Pickup
Stellantis is promising an electric Ram 1500 in 2024, which it plans to build on the new STLA Frame dedicated electric vehicle platform. The electric Ram will be futuristic, Tavares said, and it will attempt to redesign what a truck should be. There will be a wow factor to the design and some of the new tech, but the electric pickup will meet the payload, towing, and fundamental functional needs that buyers expect from full-size trucks. Tavares said Ram is looking at what the competition is doing to better compete, and beat, rivals in the electric truck marketplace.
Dodge Challenger and Charger Not Going Away
A teaser shows a classic coupe-like vehicle with a full-width, ’60s style grille and triangular 1960s-era logo. It will use the new STLA Large electric vehicle platform that promises a range of 500 miles from a single charge. It will also offer all-wheel drive.
In the electric future, there will still be a Dodge Challenger and a Dodge Charger, Tavares confirmed. Whether the electric muscle car coming in 2024 is a remake of one of these vehicles, or a new beast altogether, is unclear.
Stellantis’ EV Plans
Stellantis is stepping up its development of electric vehicles and spending more than €30 billion (approximately $36 billion) over the next five years to meet the goal of electrifying 98 percent of its new models by 2025. While some will still be plug-in hybrids, Tavares said the vast majority will be battery electrics.
Battery Plants Coming
Stellantis plans to have five battery plants to supply the 260 gigawatt-hours of capacity needed by 2030. There will be three plants in Europe and two in North America with one in the United States and the second in Canada or the U.S. Stellantis is in advanced discussions with partners and will announce the locations by the end of the year, Tavares said. The North American plants will supply about 100 gigawatt-hours.
As for the fate of existing plants, Tavares said the four dedicated electric vehicle platforms Stellantis has developed can be used anywhere, which means any plant can make any product for any brand, depending on the business model. The automaker will try not to mix platforms within a single plant for manufacturing efficiency. There will also be an attempt to refurbish plants that make internal combustion engines.
Batteries and Affordability
To improve range and reduce cost, Stellantis plans to introduce solid-state batteries by 2026. Tavares said the automaker has a partner and the technology is reaching the level of maturity needed for mass production.
Affordability is a concern, given that the average new vehicle costs about $42,000. It is important to protect affordability, especially as the industry introduces zero-emissions technology.
“We want the middle class to be able to afford it,” Tavares said. The industry, automakers, and suppliers alike need to work harder on cost reduction and generate productivity to protect middle-class access to new car sales to protect the customer base, automakers, and the jobs they provide, he added.
Another concern is the supply chain. The global shortage of semiconductors will continue to constrain production in 2022, Tavares said. In the meantime, the automaker is identifying key components in the supply chain, such as microchips and lithium, that could be brought under the automaker’s control.
Stellantis was created in January by merging Fiat Chrysler Automobiles with PSA Group, creating an automaker with 14 brands to tend to. Each is being allowed some time to show their viability.