Stellantis, the world’s fourth-largest automaker, announced a series of partnerships with Amazon on Wednesday, covering everything from software services to battery-electric delivery vans.
Amazon will purchase a “substantial number” of Ram ProMaster EV vans for its Prime delivery service, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said during an hourlong media presentation from the Consumer Electronics Show.
But the deal could be dwarfed by other elements of the new alliance. The Euro-American automaker has turned to Amazon Web Services to help it develop a wide range of software and data services that could expand the “customer experience,” Tavares said. It could also provide a major new revenue stream he estimated will generate 4 billion euros, or $4.5 billion, by 2026, jumping to 20 billion euros, or $22 billion, by 2030.
“We’re excited to collaborate with Stellantis to transform the automotive industry and re-invent the in-vehicle experience,” said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy in a statement.
“A big number”
Amazon already works with a number of different automakers, its Amazon Web Services, or AWS, unit providing cloud-based computing, data analysis and software development. It is also a major vehicle purchaser through its Prime arm. The delivery service is targeting a zero-emissions future and is already taking delivery of all-electric vans from Rivian, the startup automaker. Amazon is eventually contracted to buy 100,000 vans from Rivian, of which it is the largest single investor.
Tavares declined to say how many of the new ProMaster EVs are covered by the deal, saying only that it is “a big number. It’s a significant number.”
Stellantis is hoping to cash in on the ongoing transformation of the light commercial vehicle market. Fleet operators are beginning to shift to EVs because of lower energy and maintenance costs.
(During a separate CES news briefing, General Motors officials announced significant new orders from both FedEx and WalMart for the electric vans being produced by the new BrightDrop subsidiary.)
The U.S. side of Stellantis, the former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was slow to push electrification but since its merger with France’s PSA Group last year, the pace has rapidly accelerated. In September, Tavares said Stellantis will invest 30 billion euros, or $34 billion, on electrification in the next five years.
The ProMaster EV is one of eight battery-electric vehicles it plans to introduce during the next 18 months. And it will launch number plug-in hybrids, as well, including a 4xe version of the latest-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Tavares declined to identify what all-electric products are coming but the automaker has already confirmed entries from the Alfa Romeo and Dodge brands and the long-struggling Chrysler brand is debuting the new Airflow Concept at CES. The all-electric crossover is believed to be a thinly disguised version of a production model Chrysler will bring to market in 2024 for the 2025 model year.
On a “mission”
Electric vehicles make use of even more onboard software than conventional products and the level of in-car technology is only expected to accelerate going forward. Amazon will help Stellantis enhance its infotainment technology and add the new subscription services that could generate billions in new revenues going forward. It also will help the automaker track and analyze data to better understand what drivers are doing — and to track vehicle health.
Smartphone-like over-the-air updates, meanwhile, will allow Stellantis to update existing software — even handle some recalls remotely — while also providing new features to its vehicles. It earlier this month announced that vehicles built since 2018 will get a service called EVAS, which will alert drivers when emergency vehicles are approaching.
During the CES presentation, Stellantis software chief Yves Bonnefont stressed that the automaker will retain ownership of all data and will take steps to ensure the privacy and cybersecurity of its customers.
The relationship between Stellantis and Amazon has been building for several years. The new 2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer models already offer an in-car version of Amazon’s FireTV system. “We are becoming an automotive technology company,” said Tavares. “Our mission is to magnify the freedom of mobility we offer to our customers and we’re using this partnership (with Amazon) to go accelerate the mission we have set for ourselves to go fast forward.