Stellantis Software Day - Updates From The Event
Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler or FCA) held their Software Day press conference yesterday. Here’s all the important news from the event.
Separating Hardware & Software
Handling the updates is the biggest problem carmakers have with delivering software updates and improving the user experience for existing customers. Hardware and software update cycles are tied together in the car development process. So, even if the hardware is ready for the update, sometimes it’s waiting for the software to catch up. Other times, the software is ready for a new feature or experience but the hardware cycle still has a few years to catch up.
Separating the hardware and software development cycles takes care of this problem. This way, the customers can get the new software feature or unlock a feature using the existing hardware in their car even after buying the car.
Over The Air Updates
OTA updates will play a key role in improving the go-live and go-to-market for software updates while the hardware improvements can go out for new customers. The always-on internet connection with OTA capabilities will also cut down the need for the customer to visit the dealership and allow Stellantis to update more cars. This will also cut down the costs of updating the cars’ software as the staff at the dealerships can focus on acquiring new customers or fixing other, more critical issues for their existing customers.
STLA Architecture To Play A Key Role
The modular STLA (read as ‘Stella’) platform will play a key role in separating the two sides of their cars. The STLA car platform is a dedicated battery-electric frame and it’s available in 3 flavours - small, medium and large. There’s another one for pickup trucks. STLA is not just a piece of hardware but a full package including software. Stellantis’ STLA will also bring AI capabilities, autonomous driving and other in-car entertainment and aids.
Post Sale Monetization Using Software
Stellantis plan to collect a tonne of customer data and plan monetizing opportunities around it using AI. They have 5 main areas of monetization:
Services and Subscriptions
Features On Demand
Data as a Service and Fleet Services
Vehicle Pricing and Resale Value
Conquests, Service Retention and Cross-Selling
The OTA software update and the modular platform is nothing new. Tesla are doing it for over a decade. Stellantis have finally decided to jump in but they are at least half a decade too late. Their battery electric vehicles portfolio is lagging behind the Ford and GM’s.
For instance, Tesla also sells some of their cars with a bigger battery pack and takes an upfront loss. In return, they offer the customer the opportunity to upgrade their car’s range with a software unlock. The price of the upgrade may change over time but the vehicle locks in the value from day 1. This keeps their cars’ resale value going strong in the used car market. Stellantis are also hoping to add customer value along similar lines, which will also help with their cars’ resale prices.