Stellantis Goes ‘Full Throttle’ on US Electric Vehicle Program, Says CEO Tavares – The Detroit Bureau

Stellantis is planning “a major electric vehicle blitz,” with 25 all-electric models aimed specifically at the U.S. market, CEO Carlos Tavares said during a meeting with reporters at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, left, said the company was moving full speed ahead in an onslaught of new electric vehicles.

That includes battery-electric models for all of its Detroit-based product lines — Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram — as well as offerings from imported brands such as Alfa Romeo and Maserati. The first of the new electric vehicles is expected to hit showrooms in 2024.

“We will be accelerating full throttle” on the switch to battery power, Tavares said, noting that there will also be a number of hybrids in the Stellantis lineup. In fact, the internal combustion engine is far from dead, the CEO pointed out.

The American part of the automaker – formed by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the French Groupe PSA – has been slow to embrace electrification. Former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne went so far as to ask potential customers not to buy the company’s first all-electric model, the Fiat 500e, because it cost $14,000 more to produce than it should. could be sold.

Change is coming

Meunier Tavares and Morrison and Wagoneer S at NAIAS 2022
Meunier Tavares and Morrison and Wagoneer S at NAIAS 2022.

But things started to change with the Jeep the brand’s introduction of the Wrangler 4xe – pronounced “4-by-e”. It uses a plug-in hybrid powertrain that not only provides 21 miles of all-electric driving, but also offers significant torque improvements needed for aggressive off-road driving. Since its launch last year, the Jeep Wrangler 4xe has become the best-selling PHEV in the country.

The SUV brand has launched a second plug-in, the 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe. And, earlier this month, it announced plans for its first all-electric models. This includes a subcompact Avenger model for overseas markets, as well as four electric vehicles for the United States. These include the Wagoneer S and Recon, along with two more yet to be revealed, global brand boss Christian Meunier told this week. Wagoneer S and Recon will debut in 2024, the other two in 2025, he added.

In February, the Ram truck brand announced it would launch a battery-powered version of the Ram 1500 pickup in 2024, with other models to include an all-electric minivan.

2022 Chrysler NYIAS Airflow Chart
Chris Feuell, CEO of the Chrysler brand, unveils the Chrysler Airflow Graphite concept, a variant of the brand’s all-electric Airflow concept.

The commercial market for BEVs “has accelerated very rapidly over the past two years,” Ram brand CEO Mike Koval told in an interview, adding that “there are a lot of upsides in the commercial space.

More battery-electric models on the horizon

The long-standing struggle Chrysler brand unveils all-electric concept at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. And, a senior official told this week, Chrysler’s first all-electric model will come very close to that prototype.

The brand is expected to become 100% electric by 2028, and in a one-on-one interview Wednesday, Tavares said several other electric vehicles were in development for Chrysler.

As for Dodge, the muscle car brand will end production of its long-running Challenger and Charger muscle cars in 2023. It will return to the segment a year later with an all-electric performance model that, the insider said. , is “extremely close” to the design of the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT concept revealed last month.

World premiere of the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept
Dodge Brand CEO Tim Kuniskis unveiled the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concep during Dodge Speed ​​Week.

“Electrification will make a fantastic American muscle car,” said Tavares, himself a well-respected semi-professional race car driver.

ICE not completely finished

Despite the push, Stellantis is “bringing new internal combustion engines to market,” but they will be significantly more fuel efficient and less polluting than the automaker’s current line of ICE powertrains, Tavares said during the roundtable. media.

Eventually, the United States will transition to 100% battery-electric propulsion, the Portuguese-born executive said, but this “transformation to electric vehicles in the United States will take longer than anywhere else” among the main industrialized countries such as Europe, Japan and China.

In total, Stellantis will invest about $7 billion a year in electric vehicles and software technologies over the next five years, Tavares said, or about half of the automaker’s total R&D and capital spending.

In the long run, the executive said, “Stellantis will be Tesla’s only credible challenger. At some point you will see this.

Given the flood of new electric vehicles that competitors are preparing – with a collective industry investment in electrification of more than $500 billion, according to AlixPartners – that will be a tough boast to hold.

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