Citroen will be the leader in electric vehicles (EV) for India next year, said Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, at a virtual roundtable in Chennai on Tuesday.

“Citroen will present the smart car program, it was created under the auspices of Citroen, and EV versions are part of this program. In particular, Indian Citroen will lead in the introduction of EV “, – he explained.

Tavares said the group decided from “day one” to include the EV version in its smart car program, and a common platform was prepared for that purpose. The fact that it was established in India testifies to the intention behind it.

“We strive not only to deliver compact cars below four meters, but also to use EVs as people’s vehicles,” Tavares continued. The plan is to introduce a wide range of EVs with different body types that include MPVs and compact SUVs.

Stellantis is a joint venture of Groupe PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) with operations in India at two car plants, a power plant and a research and development center in Chennai and Pune. The company will focus on the Citroen and Jeep brands to sell its Indian handouts during this decade.

“We chose Jeep and Citroen to become the main focus in the Indian market so we know everything we need. Two brands are great opportunities. Jeep has been extremely successful around the world in terms of using electrified power units, which we designate 4xe, ”Tavares said. According to him, Jeep is moving “between now to cut by a few years from PHEV to pure EV”.

Tavares acknowledged that there were many issues to consider when planning the EV roadmap in India. “If we want to bring zero-emission mobile devices, we need to make sure that the full life cycle analysis is clean, which means we need to take care not only of the mobility device, but also of energy,” he said.

The second challenge was to ensure the availability of EVs, especially for the large middle class customer base in India. This is “still something that needs a lot of work” not only as a company but also as an industry to make it happen.

Worldwide sales data show a “significant gap” between EV and conventional technology, “reflecting the fact” that EV is 40-50 percent more expensive in total production cost. “If we transfer all this amount to the end customer, they will not be able to afford EVs that do not reduce emissions,” Tavares said.

At the moment, purchasing batteries from India “doesn’t seem possible”, but in case that becomes a reality in the near future, Stellantis will be purchasing batteries and battery packs for the rest of the world. “We believe that deliveries from India are always the best. If that happened, we would have reached almost 90 percent of the localization in Chennai, ”he added.

Tavares reiterated that the full capacity of Stellantis will be used for India, given that it is a much larger organization than the individual PSA or FCA. “Now we are together, we are one company that acts very well. It’s one company, one family and one plan until 2030. So it’s more interesting than ever because this powerful family is now carrying out a great plan for the company, ”he said.

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