The World’s Biggest Diesel Engine Plant Is About To Go Electric

Illustration for article titled The World’s Biggest Diesel Engine Plant Is About To Go Electric
Photo: Getty

The days of Europe serving as the spawning habitat for so many great diesel cars are coming to a close. In another example of the tectonic shift underway in the auto industry, Stellantis will transition its plant in Tremery, France, from the production of diesel engines to electric powertrains.

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The Tremery changeover will not happen instantly, of course, but Stellantis — formerly FCA-PSA — plans to ramp up production of its electrified powertrains through 2025, Reuters reports.

The Stellantis roadmap looks like this, per Reuters:

“From less than 10% of output in 2020, electric motor production at Tremery will double to around 180,000 in 2021, and is planned to reach 900,000 a year - or more than half the plant’s peak pre-pandemic output - by 2025.”

That’s a steep ramp-up for EV motor production in a relatively short amount of time, and it’s all the more significant because the Tremery plant is reportedly the world’s biggest diesel engine factory. And when the world’s biggest diesel production plant is putting Rudolf Diesel’s namesake motor to rest, it indicates transformative change.

Illustration for article titled The World’s Biggest Diesel Engine Plant Is About To Go Electric
Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

But the report comes with a downside, as the transformation is expected to result in job cuts. Given the relative simplicity of electric drivetrains over their internal combustion counterparts, these losses are expected to affect at least some of the plant’s 3,000 workers. Stellantis claims it will seek to protect jobs, but that’s not a guarantee.

The report notably mentions that European researchers are warning of significant and inevitable cuts as Stellantis tries to catch up to Tesla. But if one takes a broader look at the industry, it’s not Stellantis — nor GM, nor Ford, etc. — that’s trying to catch up to Tesla.

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It’s actually Tesla itself, now along with other major carmakers, collectively trying to catch up to the electrified future they’ve roadmapped for years. The electric shift at Tremery has been in the works going back to 2019.

Illustration for article titled The World’s Biggest Diesel Engine Plant Is About To Go Electric
Photo: Getty (Getty Images)
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And we can make fun of names (and logos) like Stellantis as much as we want, but it seems that these changes are not just markers of corporate restructuring; they are precursors to large-scale advances as the industry moves toward the EV future.

Sure, this EV future is largely in response to tighter emissions limits set by regulators, but at this point that’s more or less irrelevant. Whether it’s voluntary or not, carmakers will round the EV bend.

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I can only hope that the rhythmic idle purr of diesel engines, like that of VW’s TDI cars, will be replaced by some other sound that we as car lovers can’t even imagine yet. But even if no EV soundtrack is coming, the diesel days are over, and those of the EV are coming full-charge ahead.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Periodista automotriz, Naturally Aspirated Stan.

DISCUSSION

ecotecpowah
EcoTecPowah

I think electric can be a good short-term plan.  But what happens to all those used batteries after a few years?