As automakers shift to building electric vehicles, they are also working to clean up the manufacturing process. Brands big and small are pushing to decarbonize their factories, and that includes finding new, sustainable energy sources to power assembly lines. Stellantis is dipping its wheel into the space, announcing today that it has signed an agreement with Vulcan Energy Resources to explore supplying one plant with geothermal energy.
This would be the automaker's first use of geothermal energy, but the project is still years away from fruition. The project's first stage at Stellantis' Rüsselsheim factory in Germany will include a pre-feasibility study alongside Vulcan constructing geothermal assets at the location. If this is deemed successful, the project's next phase will focus on drilling and advanced studies and development. The two have signed a binding term sheet for the endeavor.
Stellantis, the conglomerate that combined PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, hopes to become "the industry champion in climate change mitigation." It has detailed a plan to become carbon net zero by 2038 and to reduce it by 50 percent by the end of this decade.
"This partnership with Vulcan reinforces our commitment to promoting greater clean energy solutions across our enterprise," said Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, adding that this project is "in alignment with our Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan." The automaker detailed the plan last March, establishing the goal of selling only electric vehicles in Europe by 2030.
According to the automaker's assumptions, Rüsselsheim, which builds the DS4 and Opel Astra, could receive "a significant portion" of its energy needs from geothermal starting in 2025. Vulcan and Stellantis are also exploring potential business models, including selling excess energy to the public grid.
"Vulcan is here to support Stellantis, our largest lithium customer and one of our major shareholders, to decarbonize its operations in Europe," said Vulcan's managing director and CEO, Dr. Francis Wedin.
The industry's shift toward EVs also has automakers looking at other sustainable ways to build and operate cars. Companies are exploring many avenues to reduce their carbon footprint throughout production. We'll likely see more automakers explore geothermal and other alternative energy sources through the end of the decade.