DETROIT—When buying a new car, one reason people don’t consider electric vehicles is the range—or how far you can go on a full charge. As things currently stand, you can usually go farther and fill up easier with a tank of gas.
Stellantis expects that to change. The auto manufacturer says that when it starts to sell compact and midsize electric vehicles off new underpinnings next year, they will be able to go up to 435 miles (700 kilometers) per charge.
The company made the claim Wednesday as it unveiled its new medium-sized platform designed for the purpose of housing battery packs and electric drive trains.
To visualize how far that is, you could go from Jackson to Marquette on one charge—we did the math. The up-north journey also works for Lansing, Grand Rapids, Holland, and Brighton.
Stellantis says the range will be best in the compact and midsize segments, which generally is about 300 miles at present.
Carlos Tavares, CEO of the company that was formed in a merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s Peugeot S.A., said Stellantis plans to roll out no fewer than 47 EVs worldwide by the end of next year. Details on the vehicles will come later in the year, he said.
The first vehicle off the platform will be the next generation of what’s known now as the Peugeot 3008, a small crossover SUV. The first new vehicle off the platform will come later this year, he said.
The new vehicles will also have a lower-range standard battery pack that can go over 310 miles (500 kilometers) per charge, the company said. The new EVs will be sold by the Peugeot, Opel and Lancia brands, as well as Chrysler in the U.S., he said.
Tavares said the company will be able to build up to 2 million vehicles per year off the new platform at factories in France, Italy, Germany and different locations in North America. Stellantis also plans to build smaller vehicles costing below 25,000 euros ($27,153) on the platform in Southeast Asia and perhaps lower-cost countries in Europe to better compete with automakers in China, Tavares said.
He said all plants in France, for instance, are getting vehicles with higher profit margins to cover higher variable costs. “If we want to fight against our Chinese competitors we need to make sure that we can use the same recipes as what they are using,” Tavares said.
Tavares has said that EVs generally cost 40% more to produce than internal combustion vehicles. He says the company has to trim costs on EVs to protect affordability for the middle class, as well as to keep the company profitable.
Stellantis said the new medium platform can be used for off-road vehicles such as Jeeps. It also can be adapted for use with an internal combustion powertrain, but it’s optimal use is for EVs.
The medium platform is the first of four that the company is planning to handle modular vehicles. The others are small, large and frame, to be used for trucks.
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