Stellantis to Test 5-Minute Electric Vehicle Battery Swapping

Published on December 8, 2023 in News by AFP

Car manufacturer Stellantis said Thursday it will test a system to swap batteries in a fleet of electric cars in Madrid next year.

The test using technology from California startup Ample will allow users of a car sharing fleet of Fiat 500e subcompacts in the Spanish capital to switch out used EV batteries for fully charged ones in less than five minutes.

"Battery swapping technology allows an EV customer who stops at a battery swapping station to have its depleted EV battery swapped out for a fully charged battery in a matter of minutes," said Stellantis, which owns the Fiat brand alongside a number of other European and U.S. brands such Peugeot and Jeep.

Photo: Stellantis

Limited driving range and slow chargers are widely seen as deterring many consumers from buying electric vehicles.

"The combination of offering compelling electric vehicles that can also receive a full charge in less than five minutes will help remove the remaining impediments to electric vehicle adoption," Ample chief executive Khaled Hassounah said in a statement.

Ample said its automatic battery-swapping stations can be set up in public spaces in as little as three days, and could use a subscription model to reduce upfront costs for drivers.

The companies will work on integrating swappable batteries in other brands in Stellantis' stable, which also includes Chrysler, Citroen, Dodge and Maserati.

The financial details of the partnership were not disclosed.

Stellantis aims to offer a fully electric lineup of vehicles in Europe by 2030.

Photo: Stellantis

Ample is not the first company to try swappable batteries.

California startup Better Place launched a battery swapping scheme in Israel for Renault-Nissan vehicles, but Tesla's deployment of fast chargers saw the industry head in that direction and the company went under in 2013.

Chinese manufacturer Nio developed with Ampere a network of hundreds of battery swapping stations, with a couple dozen stations also in Germany, Norway and Sweden.

Chinese carmaker Geely, the parent company of Volvo and Lotus, joined the network at the end of November.

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