Stellantis considers investment in batteries | Transport topics

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The Italian government is in talks with Stellantis NV, the automaker resulting from the merger of Fiat Chrysler and the PSA Group, to invest in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles in the country, according to people familiar with the matter.

A meeting in Rome this week between Stellantis chairman John Elkann, CEO Carlos Tavares and Giancarlo Giorgetti, Italy’s economic development minister, focused on the future of electric mobility in the country, the people said, who asked not to be named because the gathering was private. .

Giorgetti asked for assurance from Stellantis that Italy will remain one of the main countries where the company manufactures vehicles and inquired about plans to invest in battery manufacturing in Mirafiori, Fiat’s main industrial district. in Turin, people said.

Carlos Tavares by Marlene Awaad / Bloomberg News.

Stellantis spokespersons and the minister declined to comment. Discussions are at an early stage, no final decision has been made and the company may decide to invest in battery production elsewhere.

Tavares, 62, is in a delicate position at the helm of what is now the second largest car maker in Europe, behind only Volkswagen AG.

France recently put pressure on the former boss of Peugeot PSA manufacturer to maintain the engine power that the company was going to transfer to Hungary. Stellantis executives have also been negotiating with the British government for months for support to revamp an auto factory in England in light of the impending ban on combustion cars in the country.

PSA was more advanced in investing in electric vehicles before its merger with Fiat, having planned a project of around 5 billion euros with oil giant Total SA, backed by the French government. PSA’s stronger sales of plug-in hybrids and battery-powered cars allowed Stellantis to exit an emissions credit deal that Fiat struck with Tesla Inc. in 2019.

Stellantis employs more than 50,000 people in several dozen manufacturing plants in Italy. Last year, the government led by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte approved a € 6.3 billion ($ 7.7 billion) credit facility for Fiat, the largest government-backed financing organized for a automaker in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of its green transition, the new government led by Mario Draghi plans to invest around 25 billion euros of European Union stimulus funds in new infrastructure and to supplement this amount with national funds for an investment. total of more than 31 billion euros. .

The plan plans to renew the public transport fleet with zero-emission and low-emission vehicles and to allocate around 8.5 billion euros to sustainable mobility, including 21,000 public fast-charging stations.

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Tavares has pledged to speed up Stellantis’ electric switchover and predicts that battery-powered cars will account for more than a third of its European sales by the middle of the decade. The maker of Fiats, Peugeot and Jeeps plans to triple sales of plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles to more than 400,000 units this year.

The CEO said last month that Stellantis would aim to secure a battery capacity of 250 gigawatt hours by the end of the decade. Decisions to develop additional battery factories in Europe and North America could be made this year, and the company has scheduled an investor briefing on its EV strategy for July 8.

Fiat has been manufacturing cars at its iconic Mirafiori factory since 1939. Mirafiori has previously been a hub of the company’s electric vehicle production, starting with the electric version of the Fiat 500. Stellantis plans to start producing versions electric models of Maserati’s Gran Turismo and Gran Cabrio in Turin in mid-2022.

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