Construction progress photos are nice. When it comes to EV charging stations, it’s awesome to know how far along they are for future trips. When the company doesn’t let people know what’s going on, it can be a little maddening. Why? Because badly-needed infrastructure is something we all look forward to. As an EV driver, it directly affects what I can do with the EV.
But, there are some other kinds of economic infrastructure we should pay more attention to, because they also directly affect the EV experience, just like a charging station. Automotive factories are important, but they’re just the end of the supply chain. Further up the chain, things like battery production facilities are a big deal. Further up the chain, battery research and development facilities live at the bleeding edge of technologies that we’ll take for granted in the future.
That’s why I thought some construction progress photos from Stellantis were pretty cool. The construction of the Stellantis North America Battery Technology Centre at the Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC) in Windsor, Ontario (right across the river from Detroit) is well underway. The facility will rely on 228 steel structural columns to stay upright, and these columns weigh in at over 800 tonnes, and the first ones are starting to spring up! With an impressive area of 100,000 square feet, the facility will house 35 walk-in climatic test chambers for testing up to 63 packs at the same time, along with 11 reach-in test chambers for testing up to 132 cells at a time. The facility will conduct tests within a temperature range of -40 degrees Celsius to +80 degrees Celsius, conditions most EVs will never or rarely see.
“At Stellantis, we recognize the pivotal role that battery technology plays in electrifying the automotive industry. Our forthcoming North America Battery Technology Centre in Windsor will be key to design, test and produce class-leading products that will meet our customers’ needs,” said Ned Curic, Stellantis chief engineering & technology officer. “With multiple walk-in climatic test cells, we will rigorously evaluate batteries for pack testing, environmental durability tests, life cycle tests, and systems validation. This comprehensive testing process ensures our EV batteries are built to withstand the test of time, performing optimally in various conditions and accelerates bringing cutting-edge electric vehicles to our meet the needs of our customers.”
The Battery Technology Centre will serve as the main battery research and development hub for Stellantis North America, focusing on the development and validation of advanced Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV), and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) cells, modules, and battery packs. With a storage area capacity of 120 EV Battery Packs, this state-of-the-art facility will also strengthen the ARDC’s existing partnership with the University of Windsor, so the entities can collaborate on various testing projects with ease.
The Battery Technology Centre is part of a significant overall investment of $3.6 billion CAD ($2.8 billion USD) that was announced by Stellantis in May 2022. This project has received support from all three levels of government in Canada. The construction is expected to be completed by mid-2024, followed by full-scale battery testing operations starting in the first quarter of 2025. This project will host approximately 55 new highly skilled positions, including engineers and technicians.
In September, Stellantis celebrated the grand opening of its Battery Technology Center for Europe in Turin, Italy. This marks a significant milestone in the company’s global battery development and manufacturing network, which the company says will include six gigafactories.
According to the company, these ambitious projects reflect Stellantis’ unwavering commitment to advancing battery technology for the electric vehicles of tomorrow. It is part of the Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan and long-term electrification strategy, which involves a staggering investment of $45 billion CAD ($35 billion USD) through 2025 in electrification and software on a global scale. So, the company is just getting started.
Featured image and plant rendering provided by Stellantis.