Stellantis STLA-N believes it can make up ground on electric vehicle pioneer Tesla TSLA-Q in the coming years, its Chief Executive Carlos Tavares said on Friday, adding that consumers would benefit from competition in the sector.
The world’s fourth largest car maker this month presented its first business plan, with an aim to double revenue to €300-billion ($330-billion) a year by 2030, stepping up efforts to expand its electrified vehicle (EV) models.
“I am very confident, I am trying not to be arrogant, just confident of the fact that we are going to catch up in the next couple of years with Tesla and it’s going to be a very healthy competition,” Tavares told reporters during a televised Q&A session with reporters organized by Mobility TV World.
Tavares also called for greater investment in charging networks in Europe and the United States, to create a “density” which he deems fundamental to persuade families to switch to relying on electric cars.
The 63-year-old Portuguese executive also said Stellantis would move its current Russian van production to western Europe and freeze plans for more investments in the country as a consequence of the invasion of Ukraine.
The car maker, formed just over a year ago through the merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot maker PSA, has said it had suspended all exports and imports of vehicles with Russia, where it operates a van-making plant in the city of Kaluga, in partnership with Mitsubishi.
The decision reverses a previous plan, spelled out in January, to use Russia an export hub to meet strong van demand in Western Europe.
In this context “new investments in Russia are not on the table,” Tavares said.
The Ukraine crisis is also driving up the price of metals used in cars, from aluminum in the bodywork to palladium in catalytic converters to the high-grade nickel in electric vehicle batteries, increasing pressure on the industry, already facing higher energy costs.
After automakers suffered last year from a global crunch in semiconductor supplies, Tavares said further shortages of raw materials, including nickel for EV batteries, were to be expected.
“Stellantis has not been hurt so much so far as our supply base is not concentrated in Eastern Europe,” he added.
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