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Fiat Chrysler expands EV offering with new joint venture

Phil Curry | 13 Nov 2020

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Phil Curry

Editor Daily Brief

Phil Curry, Daily Brief Editor, is a seasoned automotive journalist, always keen to seek out and explain the latest industry developments

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has entered a joint venture with energy-storage company Engie to create a new e-mobility business, offering a suite of solutions including charging infrastructure and green energy packages.

The new entity will be an Italian e-mobility technology company, with the carmaker saying it will have access to a portfolio of ‘more than a hundred patents, a strong team of electrical and system engineers, and an established automotive industrial footprint.’

The venture will rely on FCA’s financial resources together with its industrial footprint, while Engie will provide technical expertise and its intellectual property portfolio. The two companies are looking to create sustainable mobility, which will make access to electric automotive technology easier and more convenient for drivers and mobility users. It will offer products for electrically-chargeable vehicles (EVs) such as residential, business and public charging infrastructures as well as green energy packages, enabling customers to charge at home or at any public charging point across Europe with a simple subscription at a fixed monthly rate.

Future thinking

The joint venture represents another example of vehicle manufacturers looking beyond the sale of a vehicle, especially when it comes to EVs.

Profit margins are likely to be lower for EVs due to the high cost of components involved in their production. Volvo believes that margins will only start to improve in 2025 as it increases its range. Therefore, as carmakers look to an electric future, they need to explore new avenues of profit to recoup losses they may make as sales of petrol and diesel engines make way for battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

Hyundai recently announced it was becoming a partner in the manufacturer-backed charging provider Ionity. In the UK, Audi has teamed up with energy supplier Octopus to offer 5,000 ‘free electric miles’ (over 8,000km). Volkswagen (VW) is rolling out wallboxes and a recharge service with the release of the ID. family in Europe. Meanwhile, Ford has set up partnerships with infrastructure-installation service providers to deliver charging at home.

Therefore, FCA’s move to join forces with Engie and provide e-mobility services will give the Italian carmaker another option to make profits as it looks to increase its EV offering.

‘The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding originates from a fruitful three-year cooperation between the two companies. This allowed the implementation of truly disruptive projects, such as the introduction of the exclusive FCA easy Wallbox, an easy-to-use plug-and-play charging unit, the recently launched V2G Pilot Project and the innovative customer-oriented energy packages,’ said Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. ‘The envisioned joint venture would allow an even higher commitment from both parties to expand the scope of the existing cooperation and further develop innovative products and services to enable and support a smooth shift to electric mobility in Europe’.

Commercial operations

Engie has also partnered with Scania, providing transport providers in 13 countries with made-to-measure e-mobility solutions.

This partnership will be for trucks and buses and will provide Scania’s clients with solutions to meet their e-mobility needs. It will include made-to-measure solutions to meet a fleet and depot’s actual management requirements, as well as those of electric heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). It will also cover smart charging infrastructure, service and maintenance, the provision of green energy, and financing.

‘A complete charging solution encompasses energy supply, charging hardware and software, as well as installation, maintenance and other associated services tailored to meet each client’s specific requirements,’ commented Alexander Vlaskamp, Scania’s head of sales and marketing. ‘This strong partnership with Engie and EVBox Group will simplify our clients’ transition over to an increasingly electrified fleet on the path towards a more sustainable transport sector.’

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