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Remember back in July 2018 when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finally decided to go electric and start working on developing more alternative fuel vehicles like the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid or an electric vehicle (EV)? Well, aside from the reveal of two plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) concepts, the Jeep Renegade PHEV and Jeep Compass Plug-in at the 2019 Geneva Motor International Auto Show, there hasn’t been a whole lot. Most recently, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) actually had to strike a deal with Tesla to pool their fleets together just to pass the strict CO2 emission standards of the European Union for carbon-dioxide emissions regulations. Tesla is a clear competitor! This was a kick in the pants for FCA, because now they’re striking the EV market with full force. Their newest partnership is with ENGIE and Enel X for EV charging solutions.
What? Another partnership? Yes, but this time it’s for the right reasons. After retracting their proposal to merge with Renault, FCA decided to go out on its own and do what every other automaker is doing – partnering up with companies and startups that already have working EV technology. By teaming up with ENGIE and Enel X, FCA will get help developing private and public charging solutions for upcoming electric vehicles like the Fiat 500 BEV and Jeep Renegade PHEV. In turn, FCA will help install approximately 700 Enel X charging stations at FCA Italian plants, offices and R&D centers, as well as employee parking areas.
During the partnership, FCA will be working with Enel X in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. They will be collaborating with ENGIE in 14 other European markets — Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Does the name sound familiar? It should.
ENGIE once worked with Mitsubishi Motors and Hitachi Europe on a clean energy project. ENGIE has its headquarters office building in La Défense, France, and the building has been designed as a Building Energy Management System (BEMS). Their HQ is powered with electricity converted from solar energy collected from solar panels installed around the building, and then excess energy is stored in the grid for working in the evening, but during the autumn and winter season, it proves to be troublesome. This is where working with Mitsubishi Motors and Hitachi Europe comes in. Aside from storing excess electrical energy in the grid, ENGIE could make use Hitachi’s V2X bi-directional charger to also discharge excess energy to charge the 12 kWh lithium-ion battery Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
Basically, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV becomes a portable electricity storage unit, and during the seasons where daylight doesn’t last as long, ENGIE HQ can also make use of the electricity stored in the Outlander PHEV. In essence, with a small fleet of PHEVs, ENGIE could sustain the HQ building for free. Now, whether or not Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has plans to also work on something like this hasn’t been discussed. We can’t help but think that FCA knew about this little project when they proposed the merger with Renault, however, leader of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
The deal between FCA, ENGIE, and Enel X will also go into the development of apps to help consumers locate charging stations on-the-go. A large deterrent for consumers to get a plug-in hybrid or electric vehicle is the worry that they’ll be stranded if they can’t find a charging station. If a smartphone app or infotainment app was developed for future electric and plug-in hybrid FCA vehicles, then they won’t have any problem converting consumers once they enter the market.
What do you think? Has FCA gone nuts with all the partnerships or are they simply gearing up for the electric arms race? Join the conversation on NowCar social media.