Stellantis teams up with Italian startup to expand European charging network
22 October 2021
International car giant Stellantis has teamed up with Italian startup TheF Charging to create a European public-charging network as more manufacturers look to boost infrastructure and meet rising demand for electric cars.
The companies will jointly develop quick-charging points in over 15,000 locations, with two million parking spaces across Europe by 2025. Operations will kick off this year, with the first charging stations to be built in Italy.
The objective is to make the network accessible to all electrically-chargeable vehicles (EVs), with exclusive conditions for Stellantis customers. As the result of a merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and PSA Group, Stellantis oversees 14 automotive brands, including Peugeot, Citroën, Jeep, Opel, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo.
‘The partnership with Stellantis gives further impulse to the creation of our charging network around Europe,’ said Federico Fea, CEO of TheF Charging. ‘This technological and commercial collaboration will generate benefits along the entire value chain: from our customers, whether or not they drive a Stellantis vehicle, who will be able to take advantage of innovative services in line with the individual’s specific requirements, to the owners of the locations that will host our network.’
Charging stations will be found in main hubs, such as city centres, hospitals, schools, airports, hotels, restaurants and retail outlets. Providing EV drivers with sufficient charging points is a focal point for many countries in Europe. Governments in the region are ramping up investments in electromobility, with France recently announcing a multi-billion euro revival plan to bolster the transport sector.
Stellantis’ announcement highlights the importance of public charging as not only manufacturers, but entire nations are transitioning to more sustainable mobility options. The EU sees the widespread adoption of EVs as key to cut emissions and phase out internal-combustion engine (ICE) cars from 2035.
But research has shown that the European charging infrastructure is growing slower than EV demand. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) keeps emphasising that the infrastructure for EVs falls far below what is needed. It also remains unevenly distributed across member states despite a surge in demand.
This discrepancy could impact consumer behaviour as not everyone might be willing to switch to EVs if the infrastructure is not up to speed. Stellantis wants to put the customer in the centre, aiming for tailor-made solutions, based on intuitive charging experiences.
‘Stellantis is working on creating strategic collaborations to disseminate e-mobility, thus leveraging not only the internal skills but also the partners’ specialisations, in order to accelerate the introduction to the market of new technologies in step with the times,’ said Anne-Lise Richard, head of the Stellantis e-mobility global business unit.
‘The partnership between Stellantis and TheF Charging fits into this framework with a clear objective: to guarantee the presence of charge points in strategic European locations, and to offer the best possible charging experience over time.’
The collaboration between the two companies is part of Stellantis’ broader strategy to promote electromobility. It may also involve a hardware provider Free2Move eSolutions, the joint venture between Stellantis and NHOA, which is focused on providing e-mobility products and services.
Stellantis is one of many manufacturers investing in infrastructure and charging services. BMW and Daimler are two of the main investors of Digital Charging Solutions (DCS), which plans to give customers access to thousands of charging points across Europe, especially now that energy major BP has also taken a majority stake in the company. Infrastructure is a topic that will certainly accompany OEMs and governments for years to come.