Vehicle Electrification Driving Mobility Investments, Acquisitions

Article By : Nitin Dahad

Stellantis to invest €30 billion in electrification strategy. and VW passes ownership of Bugatti to Rimac.

Electrification and mobility are very apparent and major topics in the automotive industry, so it’s no surprise as we report this week from the Goodwood Festival of Speed that we see some major announcements in this sector. Yesterday, mobility group Stellantis announced a €30 billion electrification strategy, and earlier this week successful Croatian electric vehicle manufacturer Rimac, which is showcasing its hypercar here this week, took over Bugatti from Volkswagen.

Electric Avenue at Goodwood - Electrification
Rimac is showing its hypercar at Electric Avenue at Goodwood Festival of Speed this week (Image: Nitin Dahad)

Developing four BEV platforms and battery capacity

Stellantis, which owns 14 car brands including Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Jeep and Maserati, plans to invest more than €30 billion through 2025 in electrification and software development, including equity investments made in joint ventures to fund their activities. Its roadmap encompasses the entire value chain. The company’s EV battery sourcing strategy is to secure more than 130 gigawatt hours (GWh) of capacity by 2025 and more than 260 GWh by 2030. The EV battery and component needs will be met with a total of five “gigafactories” in Europe and North America, completed with additional supply contracts and partnerships to support total demand.

Stellantis has signed MOUs with two lithium geothermal brine process partners in North America and Europe to ensure a sustainable supply of lithium, identified as the most critical battery raw material with regard to availability, as well as have the ability to integrate lithium into the supply chain once available.

In addition to sourcing strategies, Stellantis’ technical expertise and manufacturing synergies will drive battery costs lower. Electric vehicle battery pack costs are targeted to be reduced by more than 40% from 2020 to 2024 and by more than an additional 20% by 2030. All aspects of the battery pack play a role in reducing the costs – optimizing the overall pack, simplifying the format of the modules, increasing the size of the battery cells and upgrading the battery chemistry.

Stellantis aims to develop four flexible BEV-by-design platforms, a scalable family of three electric drive modules and standardized battery packs to cover all brands and segments. The platforms, designed for long life via software and hardware upgrades will help deliver BEVs that meet ranges of 500-800 km/300-500 miles and class-leading fast charging capability of 32 km/20 miles per minute.

Propulsion includes a family of three electric drive modules (EDM) that combine the motor, gearbox and inverter. These EDMs are compact, flexible and can be easily scaled. The EDMs can be configured for front-drive, rear-drive, all-wheel drive and 4xe. The combination of the platforms, EDMs and high energy-density battery packs will deliver vehicles with best-in-class performance in efficiency, range and recharging.

A program of hardware upgrades and over-the-air software updates will extend the life of the platforms well into the next decade. Stellantis will develop software and controls in-house to maintain the characteristics unique to each brand.

Carlos TAVARES-Stellantis
Carlos TavaresCEO of Stellantis

Carlos Tavares, chief executive officer of Stellantis, said, “The strategy we laid out today focuses the right amount of investment on the right technology to reach the market at the right time, ensuring that Stellantis powers the freedom of movement in the most efficient, affordable and sustainable way.”

He added, “Our electrification journey is quite possibly the most important brick to lay as we start to reveal the future of Stellantis just six months after its birth, and now the entire company is in full execution mode to exceed every customer’s expectations and accelerate our role in redefining the way the world moves. We have the scale, the skills, the spirit and the sustainability to achieve double-digit adjusted operating income margins, lead the industry with benchmark efficiencies and deliver electrified vehicles that ignite passion.”

Rimac, Bugatti join forces

Meanwhile, Croatian success story Rimac Automobili announced it has combined forces with the iconic automotive brand, Bugatti Automobiles, to create a new joint company, the Rimac Group, which will retain the individual brands. In effect, Bugatti will be brought into the new joint company Rimac Group by current owner Volkswagen and the shares will then be transferred to Porsche.

In just 10 years, Rimac Automobili has progressed from one-man garage startup to announcing a new company with one of the world’s most iconic car brands to create Bugatti Rimac. As part of the deal, the newly formed Rimac Group will be the major shareholder with a 55% stake. Mate Rimac will retain his original shareholding in Rimac Group at 37%, with Porsche at 24%, Hyundai Motor Group doing the same at 12% and other investors at 27%.

Rimac-Group-Shareholder-Structure
The new Rimac Group ownership structure (Source: Rimac)

The development, production and supply of battery systems, drivetrains and other EV components that Rimac is known for by many automotive manufacturers will be separated into a new entity – Rimac Technology, which will be 100% owned by the Rimac Group. Rimac Technology will remain an independent company working with many global car manufacturers.

Founder Mate Rimac will lead the new company. As CEO of Rimac Group, he will run both Bugatti Rimac and the new division, Rimac Technology. Bugatti and Rimac will both continue as separate respective brands, retaining existing production facilities and distribution channels. Bugatti Rimac represents the company that will develop the future of both Bugatti and Rimac vehicles, by joining resources and expertise in research and development, production, and other areas.

Mate Rimac
Mate Rimac. (Source: Porsche)

Rimac Group will continue to innovate and create its own hypercars, as well as develop systems and technologies for many global OEMs.

In time, Bugatti Rimac’s global headquarters will be situated at the recently announced Rimac campus, also serving as the home of Rimac Technology. The €200 million, 100,000m2 campus, due to open in 2023, will be the base for all research and development of future Rimac and Bugatti hypercars. With high-tech innovation at its core, the state-of-the-art site will accommodate 2,500 staff.

Mate Rimac, founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, said, “This is a truly exciting moment in the short, yet rapidly expanding history of Rimac Automobili. We have gone through so much in such a short space of time, but this new venture takes things to a completely new level. Rimac and Bugatti are a perfect match in terms of what we each bring to the table. As a young, agile and fast-paced automotive and technology company, we have established ourselves as an industry pioneer in electric technologies. With the Nevera, we have also proven that we can develop and manufacture outstanding hypercars, that are not only fast but also exciting and high-quality. Bugatti, with over a century of experience in engineering excellence, also possesses one of the most exceptional heritage of any car company in history.”

“We have just launched our latest hypercar – the Nevera – to universal global acclaim. So I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am by the potential of these two incredible brands combining knowledge, technologies and values to create some truly special projects in the future.”

Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board at Porsche, said, “We are combining Bugatti’s strong expertise in the hypercar business with Rimac’s tremendous innovative strength in the highly promising field of electromobility. Bugatti is contributing a tradition-rich brand, iconic products, a loyal customer base and a global dealer network to the joint venture. In addition to technology, Rimac is contributing new development and organizational approaches.” Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman of the executive board and member of the executive board for finance and IT at Porsche, added, “We bought the first shares in Rimac already three years ago and have successively increased them since then. Now we are benefiting from this. Rimac is helping us with its know-how to successfully lead an emotional and important group brand into the future. Today is a good day for Bugatti, Porsche and the entire Volkswagen Group.”

This article was originally published on EE Times Europe.

Nitin Dahad is a correspondent for EE Times, EE Times Europe and also Editor-in-Chief of embedded.com. With 35 years in the electronics industry, he’s had many different roles: from engineer to journalist, and from entrepreneur to startup mentor and government advisor. He was part of the startup team that launched 32-bit microprocessor company ARC International in the US in the late 1990s and took it public, and co-founder of The Chilli, which influenced much of the tech startup scene in the early 2000s. He’s also worked with many of the big names – including National Semiconductor, GEC Plessey Semiconductors, Dialog Semiconductor and Marconi Instruments.

 

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