Stellantis Announces German Assembly Expansion For New BEV Crossover

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One of the big question marks in the automotive industry is how the existing ICE players are going to enter the electric age while staying profitable and successful.

The transition from gasoline-powered to electric vehicles (EVs) presents a major challenge for automakers that rely on traditional fuel sources. With the shift to EVs, automakers will need to invest significant amounts of time and money into redesigning their production lines, retraining technicians, integrating new technologies, and sourcing new materials. Additionally, with electric vehicles generally being more expensive and less widely available than gas-powered ones, it can be difficult for car companies to make the transition while continuing to provide affordable cars that meet customers’ needs.

Lastly, there is also some uncertainty around government regulations and incentives which could potentially leave automakers in the lurch if they don’t adequately prepare for the upcoming changes in the industry.

However, Stellantis might have at least part of its recipe for transition figured out with an expansion to an existing plant meant to introduce more full-electrics. The company recently revealed plans to invest more than €130 million into the Eisenach Assembly Plant in Germany, which produces the Opel Grandland compact SUV.

The investment aims to expand the plant’s capabilities to include the production of the BEV successor vehicle, which will be built on the all-new STLA Medium platform.

The Stellantis STLA Medium platform is a state-of-the-art BEV-centric vehicle platform designed for premium DS and Alfa Romeo vehicles. It is one of four new BEV-centric platforms announced by Stellantis, the others being STLA Small, STLA Large and STLA Frame. The STLA Medium platform offers 87–104 kWh of power and up to 440 miles of range. It provides a step up in performance from the compact class, making it ideal for vehicles that require more power and range than smaller cars.

In addition to its impressive power and range capabilities, the STLA Medium platform also features advanced battery technology that allows for faster charging times and improved energy efficiency. This makes it an ideal choice for drivers who want to maximize their electric vehicle experience without sacrificing performance or convenience.

It is expected that production of the new STLA-Medium based BEV will commence in the second half of 2024. This development is a part of the broader push among automakers to shift towards electric vehicles, with Stellantis taking significant steps to address the growing global demand for sustainable transport systems by investing in advanced, eco-friendly technologies.

Stellantis (Opel’s parent company) says the addition of a BEV production line at Eisenach underscores its commitment to delivering a fully electric product lineup across Europe by 2028. This move comes as part of a broader industry-wide shift towards sustainable transportation, with automakers recognizing more and more the pressing need to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles.

At present, the Opel Grandland SUV produced at Eisenach also features plug-in hybrid variants. By integrating full-electric vehicle production into its mainstream manufacturing processes, Opel says it is positioning itself as an eco-friendly brand and a leader in the transition to cleaner mobility.

“Eisenach, our most compact plant in Germany, has demonstrated a strong drive in quality improvements,” said Arnaud Deboeuf, Stellantis Chief Manufacturing Officer. “With this allocation of Stellantis’ new fully BEV platform, STLA Medium, Eisenach plant’s highly skilled workforce will continue to improve the cost and the quality of the vehicles they produce to delight our customers.”

Located in the central German state of Thuringia, the Eisenach Assembly Plant commenced operations in September 1992 with the production of the Opel Astra. This year marked the plant’s 30th anniversary, which was celebrated with an Open Day event to honor the production of 3.7 million vehicles from the facility over the years. The plant’s history is a testament to its longevity and underscores its importance as a part of Opel’s manufacturing base, so it’s good to see that it will transition with the company into the EV future.

Stellantis says its investment in the Eisenach Assembly Plant is a crucial step towards fulfilling the commitments laid out in its “Dare Forward 2030” strategy. At the center of this strategy is the goal of slashing carbon emissions in half by 2030, benchmarked against 2021 metrics, and achieving carbon neutrality by 2038, with only a single-digit percentage of emissions to be compensated for. To achieve these targets, the strategy focuses on several core objectives, including a drive for 100% of passenger car sales in Europe and 50% of passenger car and light-duty truck sales in the United States to be BEVs by the end of the decade.

The company also aims to double net revenues by 2030 and maintain double-digit adjusted operating income margins throughout the decade. Furthermore, the Dare Forward 2030 strategy seeks to establish Stellantis as an industry leader in customer satisfaction for products and services in every market by 2030.

The new EV will join the existing model, the Opel Grandland lin the Eisenach factory, and the company says that vehicle has cemented its position as a leading player in the competitive compact SUV segment. With its sleek and sporty exterior, intuitive controls and advanced technology, it has won over customers across the globe (at least where Opels sell). The company says part of the reason for success is the state-of-the-art PurSsSSssSsscde Panel digital cockpit that offers an immersive driving experience, incorporating innovative features such as the IntelliLux LED® Pixel light system with 168 LED elements and Night Vision technology, which can detect pedestrians and animals up to 100 meters away in the dark and alert the driver.

Sporting Opel’s new Vizor face, the Grandland is currently available in both highly efficient combustion engine and plug-in hybrid variants. The top-of-the-range sporty Opel Grandland GSe comes with electric all-wheel drive, elevating the model’s performance to a new level. With its combination of cutting-edge features, sleek design and reliable performance, the Opel Grandland remains a popular choice among SUV enthusiasts.

So, the new EV crossover that’s going to start coming from the plant has some pretty big shoes to fill, but if they do it well and give it the benefit of the interior technology in their gas and hybrid crossovers, there’s a good chance that they could have another success on their hands.

Featured image provided by Stellantis.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1955 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba