Requirements for Electric Mobility: Improving Range, Performance and Affordability

What are the next development leaps to be expected on the road to electromobility? When will electric vehicles become (more) affordable for end users? Dipl.-Ing. Georg Bednarek, Director Regulations & Homologation, Opel Automobile GmbH/Stellantis, will address these and other questions in his keynote speech at the 24th International VDI Congress Dritev. He answered our questions in advance.

When do you expect the next decisive leaps in performance in battery technology in terms of range and shorter charging times?

Georg Bednarek: Stellantis is continuously working to provide the best solutions for range and recharging speed, while also addressing important aspects such as battery and vehicle weight as well as the affordability of BEVs.

Is Stellantis focusing in particular on solid-state batteries or which technologies do you prioritize for the future?

Georg Bednarek: Stellantis as a global company that works on a wide range of technologies, including solid state batteries. Over time we will determine the best solution. There might even be a coexistence between solid state batteries and other battery technologies, depending on vehicle usage and market demand.

How important do you think hydrogen technologies will be in the future?

Georg Bednarek: We see hydrogen (H2) as suitable for light commercial vehicles. Therefore, we successfully introduced a mid-size van to the market at the end of 2022, followed by a large-size van this year. 

What significance do you think hybrid drive concepts will have in a transitional period over the next few years?

Georg Bednarek: That’s a fair question and a challenging one since subsidies were cancelled, leading to market changes. However, Stellantis remains committed to developing a portfolio of zero tailpipe emissions vehicles. Meanwhile, we also offer a wide range of hybrid and plug-in vehicles to meet all customer needs.

There are critics who say that European manufacturers hardly stand a chance against Asian suppliers in the price-sensitive segment. What would you say to these voices?

Georg Bednarek: Competition always serves as catalyst for strategic development decisions. In line with this principle, we are planning to introduce a price-sensitive portfolio with the inaugural offering being the new Citroën eC3as, slated for release as early as 2024.

There is a lot of discussion about the high depreciation of today's electric vehicles. What would you advise your customers to do today? Should they buy or would it be better to conclude a kilometer leasing contract?

Georg Bednarek: Stellantis offers a wide variety of options, allowing customers to choose from purchase, lease, or rent through our internal Free2move service

Customers currently have to pay up to 70 cents per kilowatt hour at public charging stations in Germany, for example. Doesn't electricity need to become cheaper in order to make e-mobility financially competitive? How can the industry contribute to this?

Georg Bednarek: Cost of electricity is always a critical topic to monitor. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, some opt for photovoltaics, while others prioritize cost-efficient charging. Our LCV offer includes hydrogen technology. We are committed to achieving emission neutrality by 2038.

Source: Stellantis

Dipl.-Ing. Georg Bednarek, Director Regulations & Homologation, Opel Automobile GmbH/Stellantis, will report on Opel's path to electromobility in his keynote speech.