Dusseldorf The Opel parent company Stellantis sees no alternative to the battery-powered electric car. This applies in particular to Europe with its strict requirements for reducing CO2 emissions. “In the short term, only the battery-powered vehicle is available,” said Chief Operating Officer Uwe Hochgeschurtz on Wednesday at the Handelsblatt Auto Summit in Düsseldorf.
The former Opel boss thus gave a clear rejection of other drives such as the fuel point or synthetic fuels. “The next two decades will definitely belong to the battery car,” explained Hochschurtz. The high energy efficiency also speaks clearly for the battery-powered electric car. More than 90 percent of the energy used can actually be converted into kinetic energy with the electric vehicle.
At least for the European market, the Stellantis Group has announced one of the most ambitious electrification plans ever. While the EU has only specified the end of the combustion engine for the year 2035, Stellantis wants to be finished five years earlier. “The planet can’t wait, we have to cut CO2 emissions quickly,” said the manager.
Stellantis is faster than the competition
Most brands in the group, which includes Fiat, Peugeot and Chrysler, are even faster and should have completed the electrification of the model portfolio by 2028 and 2029. Volkswagen wants to achieve an electric share of 70 percent in Europe by 2030.
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Hochgeschurtz believes that car buyers willingly take part in the transition to electromobility. The social pressure will grow in the coming years to actually switch to a battery car. “In the next one to two years there will be the first European cities where you can no longer drive into the centers with a combustion engine,” said the car manager.
Paris and Madrid, for example, are considered pioneers of particularly strict regulation. Hochschurtz also expects such entry restrictions in German cities.
At the same time, Hochschurtz appealed to politicians to make it easier for car customers to switch to electric cars. “Government support measures must be maintained,” he said. Politicians are thus signaling to car buyers that purchasing an electric vehicle is the right decision from an environmental and climate policy point of view.
If the state support payments were completely abolished, car buyers could refuse to switch to electric cars. Falling residual values for combustion engines are also an incentive to switch.
Less funding in the Federal Republic
In Germany, the promotion of environmentally friendly vehicles will be significantly reduced at the turn of the year. The funding amount will be reduced from a maximum of 9,000 euros per car to about half.
The federal government is also introducing a budget cap: If the budgetary funds provided are exhausted next year, there will be no more help for customers who submitted their application too late. The Stellantis manager warned that state incentives should not be reduced too much.
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Hochschurtz still sees electric cars at a clear cost disadvantage compared to conventional combustion models. The production of a purely battery-powered model is on average around 10,000 euros more expensive. This cost difference will continue to exist for a long time.
“This disadvantage can be gradually reduced over the next ten years,” he emphasized. If the number of e-cars produced goes into the millions, “then the prices will fall”.
>> Read here: New study predicts electric car market crash
In order not to be too dependent on Asian and especially not on Chinese suppliers for battery production, Stellantis wants to build its own cell plants for battery production. Initially, five of these so-called “Gigafactories” are planned. One of these factories is built in Kaiserslautern. It is intended to supply Opel in Germany and French group brands with battery cells.
Stellantis secures its own supply of raw materials
The group also invests in its own raw material supply. Stellantis has therefore taken a stake in the German company Vulcan Energy, which wants to set up its own lithium production in the Upper Rhine Graben near Freiburg. Lithium is the most important raw material needed for the production of battery cells. The VW Group had also decided to get involved with Vulcan.
Hochschurtz considers its own lithium production in Germany and Europe to be indispensable in order to become less dependent on imports. “We have to mine raw materials in Germany ourselves. We may also see fracking in natural gas and oil,” he said. The extraction of such raw materials is now also possible in an environmentally friendly way.
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