Jeep- and Chrysler-parent Stellantis is launching a new business unit to encompass its charging and energy management offerings.
The unit will manage a service called Free2move Charge to deal in everything from home charging wall boxes to public charging network aggregation, according to the announcement, which said the new service would address “electric vehicle customer needs at home, in their business and on-the-go.”
More announcements from the new business unit are expected in the coming months.
“We want to bring as many charge points to our customers as possible,” Ricardo Stamatti, Stellantis senior vice president of charging and energy, said this week of the plan to give the company’s electrified vehicle customers access to more charging options, beginning first in North America and Europe.
Other automakers, including General Motors, Tesla and Volkswagen, have their own divisions along this front, but “we have a different twist” from the others, Stamatti said, suggesting that the unit be viewed through the lens of how Stellantis has a separate division, Mopar, for parts and accessories.
He said the process shows that the automakers are thinking alike when it comes to charging needs and offerings.
Although the new business unit shares part of its name with the company’s Free2move car sharing and mobility service, Stamatti said they remain separate entities.
During a media roundtable on Monday to discuss the new unit, one of the first questions from reporters focused on whether Stellantis would adopt the Tesla charging connector, known as the North American Charging Standard (NACS) as General Motors, Ford and others have recently announced. While there was no news on that front Monday — the company has said it’s evaluating NACS — Stamatti did say at one point that there is a “pending NACS announcement.”
The shift to the former Tesla standard by numerous automakers will open up a much larger public charging network for many EV drivers and could help solve one of the perceived hurdles to widespread electric vehicle adoption.
While Stellantis, which also owns the Ram, Dodge and Fiat brands, is preparing to launch numerous fully electric vehicles in the coming years, Stamatti said customers would benefit initially from the new business unit because of the company’s plug-in hybrid electric models. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe, for instance, is the most popular plug-in model in the United States, according to Stellantis.