Electric vehicles will not be the only way Stellantis will clean up its act.
Stellantis has just announced its intention to invest in Symbio, a company specializing in hydrogen-powered mobility. Stellantis will join existing shareholders Faurecia and Michelin.
"Symbio's technical roadmap perfectly matches with Stellantis' hydrogen roll-out plans in Europe and in the US," said Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. "This move will foster the speed of development to bring low-emission products to our customers, beyond traditional electric vehicles."
Stellantis has shown a willingness to introduce fully-electric and hybridized vehicles - the Jeep Wrangler 4xe is evidence thereof - but it is also not throwing all its eggs in one basket. Like Toyota, Stellantis is not convinced that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are the planet's only solution for cleaner mobility.
As a conglomerate, Stellantis will be able to pass on any benefits from this investment to a multitude of brands, a strategy that has already begun to pay off in the relatively short time since Stellantis was formed last year. The other stakeholders in Symbio are similarly optimistic about the potential rewards this cooperative deal may reap.
"Michelin is convinced that hydrogen fuel cell technology will make an effective contribution to decarbonizing mobility and even beyond," said Michelin CEO Florent Menegaux, adding that "the arrival of Stellantis in Symbio's capital would reinforce this conviction and would catalyze the tremendous industrial momentum we have built with Faurecia."
If all goes well with regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, the transaction is expected to be closed in the first semester of 2023, which means that it will still be a long time before any of Symbio's influence is felt on publicly available vehicles.
Still, it's encouraging to see that more and more automotive giants are considering other clean alternatives to BEVs. Toyota, BMW, Honda, Volkswagen, and others are already developing hydrogen-powered vehicles and have been working on the project for some time.
With yet another big name entering the fuel cell space, there may be hope that we won't all have to drive similar EVs in the decades to come.