Stellantis & Leapmotor are negotiating potential cooperation
As the portal CarNewsChina reports with reference to three sources familiar with the matter, Stellantis wants to invest in Leapmotor and license its Leap 3.0 platform for BEV and EREV vehicles. However, no amount of the possible investment or the shares in Leapmotor that Stellantis wants to secure are mentioned.
Leapmotor presented the C10, the first model based on the Leap 3.0, at the IAA in September. The C10 is to be the brand’s first global model to be launched in Europe as well – but exact markets have not yet been named. What is clear is that, as in China, Leapmotor will also rely on the EREV concept for the upcoming European models in addition to the purely electric BEV drive. A small combustion engine is installed in the vehicle, which acts as a generator for the battery, but never drives the wheels directly – similar to the BMW i3 with a range extender that was once available.
For the battery, the Leap 3.0 relies on a cell-to-chassis concept, where the battery cells are installed directly into the battery pack and the battery pack itself is structurally loaded. According to Leapmotor, this should improve the battery’s range, performance and safety. The oil-cooled electric drive has an output of 170 kW to 250 kW and is said to be suitable for both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. There are also silicon carbide semiconductors.
The latest report does not come as a surprise: in August, Bloomberg reported that Stellantis was looking into a collaboration with a Chinese electric car manufacturer to strengthen its presence in the world’s largest car market. So with the new information, things could become concrete soon.
Stellantis is currently struggling in China. Last year, the group closed its only China plant in a joint venture with GAC after an attempted takeover by Stellantis failed. The company blamed this on the increasing interference of Chinese politicians in the economy.
Leapmotor had already emphasised at the premiere of the Leap 3.0 that it was open to cooperation agreements – the company not only wanted to build cars itself, but also to become “a provider of core technologies for electric vehicles”, as Zhu Jiangming, CEO of Leapmotor, put it. There was early talk of two interested parties. In addition to Stellantis, Volkswagen is also reportedly negotiating with Leapmotor about a possible electric car cooperation in China – probably for the China brand Jetta.