Stellantis to retrofit electric drivetrains to ICE light-commercial vehicles

11 December 2022

A new partnership will allow Stellantis to convert light-commercial vehicles (LCVs) powered by internal-combustion engines (ICE) to electric drivetrains.

The automotive giant has joined forces with Qinomic, a high-tech company specialising in innovative and sustainable mobility solutions. The partnership will convert ICE-powered LCVs to electric powertrains while ensuring OEM quality and specifications, such as safety and durability, are maintained.

Stellantis wants to ‘extend vehicle life and usage, ensuring sustainability and affordability at the same time.’ This aim is central to its retrofitting plans, which have been developed following a collaboration between Stellantis’ circular-economy and commercial-vehicle business units.

Affordability and sustainability

The LCV retrofit solution is slated to be initially available in France from 2024, forming a part of Stellantis’ Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, which emphasises a goal of carbon net zero by 2038.

Choosing France as the launch location for its retrofitted LCVs follows a trend for Stellantis. Since 2018, the carmaker has spent more than €2 billion on its French manufacturing sites.

Outside of wider electrification plans, including the manufacturing of new electric vehicles (EVs), Stellantis considers retrofitting ‘a sustainable and affordable solution for customers willing to switch to zero emissions and to reduce their total cost of ownership, while keeping their vehicles.’

This was affirmed by Xavier Peugeot, Stellantis senior vice president, commercial-vehicle business unit. ‘Retrofitting technology will reinforce Stellantis’ leadership in zero-emission mobility solutions for professional customers, complementing our full electrified van range,’ he said.

Circular economy

Stellantis’ move to retrofit LCVs from ICE to electric power chimes with the automotive industry’s approach towards a circular economy.

The company’s main circular-economy hub will launch in 2023 at the Mirafiori plant in Italy, with a focus on remanufacturing and reconditioning. Stellantis will also operate ‘local loops’ to keep products and materials within countries.

In the wake of the Dare Forward announcement, Stellantis published its first Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report earlier this year. The 300-plus page report contains a plan to offer ‘affordable maintenance’ with a range of remanufactured original spare parts.

The inking of the retrofitting partnership with Qinomic is a clear way for Stellantis to address the age of electrification whilst saving costs and reusing material parts to extend the life of vehicles.

Plans to electrify former ICE vehicles tie in with wider European legislative changes. Stellantis quotes a report from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), stating the number of low-emission zones (LEZ) zones in Europe grew by 40% in the last three years. Furthermore, this looks to continue to increase as part of the enforcement of urban vehicle-access regulations.

‘I am delighted that Stellantis is working with Qinomic on this development in retrofit technology,’ said Alison Jones, Stellantis senior vice president, circular-economy business unit. ‘This innovation gives our professional customers the choice to convert their current vans to electric, extend their vehicle’s life and meet legislative and mobility requirements.’