Driving electric vehicles in Europe carries environmental and social risks, says Stellantis CEO

A view shows the Stellantis logo at the entrance to the company’s factory in Hordain, France, July 7, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

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PARIS, Jan 18 (Reuters) – The European Commission’s strategy to phase out combustion engines in favor of electric vehicles is a political choice that carries environmental and social risks, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in a statement. an interview with European newspapers.

Since Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot merged to create the world’s 4th largest automaker by production, Tavares has crafted a 30 billion euro ($34 billion) electrification plan that has helped shares of Stellantis (STLA.MI ) to increase by more than 60% in their first year. Read more

“What is clear is that electrification is a technology chosen by politicians, not by industry,” he said in a joint interview with Les Echos, Handelsblatt, Corriere della Sera and El Mundo. .

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He added that there are cheaper and faster ways to reduce carbon emissions.

“Given the current European energy mix, an electric car needs to travel 70,000 kilometers to offset the carbon footprint of battery manufacturing and start catching up with a mild hybrid vehicle, which costs half the cost of an EV (vehicle electric),” he said.

He also said a ban on internal combustion vehicles by 2035 in Europe means automakers must start transforming their factories and supply chains quickly.

“The brutality of this change creates a social risk,” he said.

In a detailed interview that touched on the various challenges Stellantis faces, Tavares also qualified his promise not to close factories in Europe.

“I usually keep the promises I make, but we also have to stay competitive,” he said, citing in particular production costs in Italy which were “significantly higher, sometimes double those of factories in other European countries”, mainly because of “exorbitant” energy prices.

Pointing to Rome, where the government is working to bring down industrial costs, he said: “It takes some time for the measures to be implemented. We will talk about it again at the end of 2022.”

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Reporting by GV De Clercq and Tassilo Hummel Editing by Mark Potter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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