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Stellantis may be butt of jokes, but new tech may surprise some

by David Zatz on

While the uninspiring corporate name Stellantis has brought up numerous jokes — mostly centering around its pharmaceutics-like sound — the two groups have announced some fairly impressive technology in the works.

Americans can’t buy 4xe Jeeps just yet, but FCA, on both sides of the Atlantic, has been hard at work on advanced hybrid-electric systems. PSA, which already has some sophisticated hybrids, is moving on to the next phase, adding two completely battery-electric (BEV) platforms which will support compact and large cars.

PSA’s new reference platform, “eVMP” (electric vehicle modular platform), will have 60-100 kWh of batteries, using the entire vehicle subfloor to store it—at a rate of 50 kWh per meter, a benchmark for BEVs. Using the WLTP cycle, they should have a 400-to-650 km (250-400 mile) range.  PSA is planning ahead for hybrid-electric versions as well.

To cut costs, PSA is using some existing battery modules and standardized sub-assemblies, and adapting the design to work with PSA’s existing factories. Likewise, the system uses parts developed and built in-house or by joint ventures. FCA has already developed a small car with some similar technologies, the 500e, released this year; the first Peugeot BEV is expected to be the 3008 SUV, in 2023.

Ghibli Hybrid

The Maserati Ghibli, launched in 2013 using dimensions rather similar to those of the Chrysler 300C (and many shared parts), will be sold as a hybrid-electric shortly. It’s only a mild-hybrid, but it will recover kinetic energy on braking and deceleration; it is based on a four-cylinder, direct-injected 2.0 liter engine with an electric supercharger and 48-volt electrical system. The car is rated at 330 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque, and delivers 0-62 mph acceleration in 5.7 seconds. Fuel economy has yet to be determined. (Horsepower is only 10% higher than Chrysler’s Pentastar V6, but torque is 70 lb-ft higher and there is likely more torque available at lower engine speeds.)

maserati BSG 2.0 turbo ghibli

The 2.0 is from the GME family, but does not share much with the American 2.0 engine outside the basics.  The electric supercharger is a rare feature, and this may be the first four-cylinder ever to have it.

Allpar’s T_690 wrote that the engine was originally developed for both Alfa Romeo and Maserati; he saw the press release as indicating that Alfa Romeo was being sidelined (much as Chrysler and Dodge have been) with emphasis going to Maserati instead.

Stellantis

Stellantis itself may be endangered by the EU’s scrutiny of commercial van production, which would be dominated in the EU by Peugeot and FCA. However, it seems unlikely that will be a major issue.

The Stellantis name has one major advantage over most of the ones proposed earlier, and FCA itself: it does not favor one organization over the other. Ordering of the Fiat and Peugeot names is bypassed completely, as is the question of whether to let FCA have two; and either the Fiat or Chrysler brands could theoretically be dropped at any point in the future without embarrassment (not that Daimler still makes Daimlers).

In the Allpar forums, R.M. Todd commented, “My first thought was that the name was a combination of “stellar,” for the Latin word referring to stars, and Atlantis, a legendary place said to have sunk into the ocean, thus meaning a sinking star. Then I thought it could be a combination of star and Mylanta (the heartburn drug). Apparently I was only half right.”

Another member pointed to the long-gone TV show “Stargate Atlantis:

Member gforce suggested a new car be: “A Crossover Named Desire.”

To be fair, as Tony K. pointed out, the companies faced a serious problem: they needed an umbrella brand for what used to be three companies and part of a fourth. Opel was until recently part of GM; Fiat Chrysler is Fiat and Chrysler, which also includes the relatively recently independent-ish Jeep, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati; and Peugeot also includes Citroën. Tony wrote, “Using an esoteric neologism like “Stellantis” is how you get around long acronyms that please no one (whose name goes first?) and just get more ungainly as you add another corporation. Stellantis also gets away from immediate associated negative connotations in the US of Fiat and French cars.”

A logo will be announced, but has not been shown yet.


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