This latest partnership will be the fourth EV battery plant Stellantis aims to operate in Europe.
To the outside world at least, it would look like Stellantis is perhaps rather undecided on its EV strategy. That is as while the global automotive conglomerate has lately warned that it is prepared to pull back on its electrification plan at the drop of a hat, it has on the other hand is also continuing to dump shed loads of dosh into its fully-electric endeavours, with the most recent example of this being its newly-inked partnership with CATL to build yet another battery plant in Europe.
Likely to be Stellantis’ fourth in the old continent, this recent battery plant deal with CATL aims for a 50-50 joint venture at building a new European gigafactory to produce lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. Though perhaps more interestingly is that this deal also comes predicated with a preliminary agreement for the supply of said cells and modules for use in the automotive conglomerate’s European-made EVs.
While LFP batteries are less powerful compared with the more mainstream nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) types, it is nevertheless significantly more affordable chemistry to produce. Stellantis is therefore hoping that this touted affordability will be a worthwhile trade-off in its expanded use throughout its automotive lineup, against the compromise of autonomy from using batteries manufactured by an outside supplier.
Details as to exactly where these batteries could go however remain a mystery, but it is looking likely that these cells would soon feature in Stellantis’ passenger car, crossover and small and medium sized SUV segments. In fact, there may even be a chance for these LFP modules to power its commercial vehicle range and even some Leapmotor models, to which the automotive conglomerate has recently signed a deal to be its official distribution partner in Europe.
Stellantis Global Head of Purchasing and Supply Chain Maxime Picat said of this deal with CATL would complement the group’s electrification strategy, with LFP batteries helping cutting production costs in Europe while maintaining output of NMC batteries for more expensive cars. The conglomerate currently is building three other NMC battery gigafactories in in France, Germany and Italy through its prior joint venture with Mercedes and TotalEnergies.
Discussions are currently still ongoing with CATL on the joint venture proposal, with a few more months being needed to finalise this deal, said Picat. Both parties have also since declined to provide details about the possible location of the new battery facility.