In a new interview, Stellantis European Head, Uwe Hochschurtz, claimed, “The people have decided: we will be purely electric,” backtracking statements made by the company’s CEO, Carlos Tavares.
The statement is a surprise as the Stellantis CEO has been adamantly against going all-in on electric vehicles.
Less than a year ago, the Stellantis leader said electric vehicles were being “imposed” on the auto industry while claiming “there is no way” the automaker can avoid passing on additional EV costs to buyers.
More recently, in response to the European Union’s proposed ban on fossil fuel car sales from 2035, Tarvis argued hybrids should play a more significant role in the transition. Under the new proposal, hybrid vehicles would be phased out as low-emission vehicles in 2030, paving the way for fully electric cars.
Mr. Tavares has made it clear he believes electric vehicles are being forced upon them, saying in an interview in January:
What is clear is that electrification is a technology chosen by politicians, not by industry.
However, since these comments were made, there has been a clear shift in sales of electric vehicles. EVs have continued to gain ground in every major auto market (including the US, Europe, and China). The International Energy Agency forecasts global EV sales share to reach 13% compared to 9.4% in 2021.
More importantly, people prefer EVs. The latest EY Mobility Consumer Index 2022 Study found that 52% of car buyers prefer an electric vehicle for their next purchase, and the preference for fully electric has more than tripled since 2020.
In light of the CEO’s warnings about going all in on EVs, the automaker’s European boss seems to be on board with the new gas-powered car ban yet reiterates the CEO’s message on affordability. To help offset the purchase price, Hochschurtz offers a solution by proposing a lower tax rate on EVs.
Stellantis European head on the transition to electric vehicles
In an interview with a German newspaper, Stellantis’s chief operating officer for enlarged Europe, Uwe Hochschurtz, claims:
The people have decided: We will be purely electric.
But, during the interview, the Stellantis executive criticized the German government’s move to reduce electric vehicle incentives even as the growing demand for EVs makes them expendable. According to Hochschurtz, since (at least in Stellantis’s case) electric vehicles cost more to produce, the government should make up the difference.
Hochschurtz offered the idea of a lower tax rate on electric vehicle purchases in Germany as an alternative to the subsidies, stating:
An electric car helps us keep our environment clean, and a non-electric car makes our environment dirtier. I don’t think you can use the same tax rates there.
Despite Tavares’s comments, as part of the Stellantis Dare Forward 2030, the automaker is aiming for 100% electric vehicle sales in Europe and 50% in the United States by the end of the decade. Stellantis revealed its first fully electric Jeep Avenger, built for the European market earlier this week.
To clarify, several other automakers have proven it’s possible to build profitable electric models. To me, it seems Stellantis needs to invest in the technology and supply chains required to build EVs at scale instead of trying to make excuses.
Electric vehicles are working. According to a new IEA analysis, CO2 emissions are set to grow by just 1%, and the report adds that the increase would be “much larger – more than tripling” if it were not for the growing number of electric vehicles and renewable energy deployments.
As far as hybrids go, they were a great bridge to fully electric vehicles. The biggest reason consumers didn’t make the switch was limited range. Now that battery technology has progressed and charging stations are rolling out, there’s no reason not to go fully electric.
Stellantis is late to the party and now looking to play catch up, so it makes sense that Tavares continues to argue against the transition to fully electric vehicles.
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