Italy’s government is in talks with Stellantis NV, the automaker created by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group, to invest in the country’s electric vehicle battery production, according to people familiar with the matter.
A meeting between Stellantis Chairman John Elkann, Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares and Giancarlo Giorgetti, Italy’s Minister for Economic Development, this week in Rome to discuss the future of the country’s electric mobility, said people who asked for it Not being named to the congregation was private.
Giorgetti asked Stellantis for assurances that Italy would remain one of the top countries in which the company manufactures vehicles and asked about plans to invest in battery manufacturing in Mirafiori, Fiat’s main industrial area in Turin, people said.
Stellantis spokesmen and the minister declined to comment. Talks are at an early stage, a final decision has not yet been made and the company may decide to invest in battery production elsewhere.
Tavares, 62, is in a difficult position as the head of what is now the second largest automobile manufacturer in Europe behind Volkswagen AG.
France recently put pressure on the former head of Peugeot manufacturer PSA to maintain engine power, which the company wanted to relocate to Hungary. Stellantis executives have also been negotiating with the British government for months to help them convert a car factory in England in view of the impending ban on combustion engines.
Before the merger with Fiat, PSA continued to invest in electric vehicles and was planning an approximately 5 billion euro project with the oil giant Total SA, which is supported by the French government. PSA’s increased sales of plug-in hybrids and battery-powered cars enabled Stellantis to cancel an emissions credit agreement that Fiat signed with Tesla Inc. in 2019.
Stellantis employs more than 50,000 people in several dozen production facilities in Italy. Last year, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government approved a € 6.3 billion ($ 7.7 billion) credit facility for Fiat, the largest government-backed funding arranged for an automaker in Europe during the coronavirus pandemic has been.
As part of its green transition project, the new government, headed by Mario Draghi, plans to invest around 25 billion euros in rescue funds from the European Union in new infrastructures and to top up this amount with domestic funds for a total investment of more than 31 billion euros.
The plan envisages renewing the public transport fleet with zero-emission and low-emission vehicles and providing around 8.5 billion euros for sustainable mobility, including 21,000 public quick-charging stations.
Tavares has promised to speed up Stellantis’ electrical circuit and predicts that battery-powered cars will account for more than a third of European sales by the middle of the decade. The maker of Fiats, Peugeots and Jeeps expects to triple sales of plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles this year to more than 400,000 units.
The CEO said last month Stellantis will secure 250 gigawatt hours of battery capacity by the end of the decade. Decisions to build more battery factories in Europe and North America could be made later this year, and the company has scheduled an investor briefing about its EV strategy on July 8th.
Fiat has been making cars at its legendary Mirafiori plant since 1939. Mirafiori has already been a hub for the company’s electric vehicle production, starting with the electric version of the Fiat 500. Stellantis plans to start producing electric versions of the Maserati Gran Turismo and GranCabrio models in. to start Turin in mid-2022.
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