Stellantis and Ample recently inked an agreement to form a new partnership for the development of EV charging technology. Their goal? To deliver a fully charged EV battery in less than five minutes, which would be pretty nice. Such a goal may sound ridiculous, but not if you consider that the companies plan to add Ample’s Modular Battery Swapping technology into Stellantis electric vehicles.
For those unfamiliar, Ample’s technology allows EV owners to conveniently exchange a dead battery for a fully charged one at swap stations in a matter of minutes. But, getting there requires changes to Stellantis vehicles and work to make sure Ample’s technology works well with the company’s cars.
“The partnership with Ample is another example of how Stellantis is exploring all avenues that enable freedom of mobility for our electric vehicle customers,” said Ricardo Stamatti, Stellantis Senior Vice President, Charging & Energy Business Unit. “In addition to other projects we are focused on, Ample’s Modular Battery Swapping solution has the opportunity to offer our customers greater energy efficiency, outstanding performance and lower range anxiety. We are looking forward to executing the initial program with our stellar Fiat 500e.”
The first part of this project is scheduled to start in Madrid, Spain in 2024, and as the quote hints, it’s going to involve the Fiat 500e. Specifically, a fleet of 100 Fiat 500e in Stellantis’ Free2move car-sharing service will get the swappable batteries for testing and further evaluation.
“At Ample, we believe in the importance of making electric vehicles accessible to everyone without compromises, which is the only way that we will make a significant impact on lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Stellantis’ ambitious electrification goals, its range of electric vehicles, and the commitment of its leadership, make Stellantis a perfect partner in achieving our goals,” said Khaled Hassounah, CEO of Ample. “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. We look forward to working with Stellantis to deploy our joint solution across communities around the world.”
According to the companies, Ample batteries are purposefully designed to seamlessly replace the original batteries in electric vehicles, and can already be added to most vehicles. This is possible because Ample uses a modular battery design, so only mounting hardware is needed. But, the companies need to work together to make sure the car’s electronics are ready to go for battery swapping.
There are several key advantages to using battery swapping over rapid charging.
The biggest one is that Ample’s lightweight battery swapping stations can be rapidly deployed in public areas, taking just three days. This makes building out charging infrastructure a lot faster and easier than traditional DC fast chargers, which can take months to years.
Another advantage is speed and efficiency. Not only is getting a swap fast, but batteries can generally charge a lot more slowly while waiting for the next driver. This makes for less degradation and it means that it’s possible to charge more batteries on renewable energy that’s more widely available during certain times of day. Less strain on the grid is also possible through time shifting like this.
Another advantage is that it’s easy to put in better batteries as the technology improves. When you can subscribe to batteries and get a newer technology in five minutes, you can benefit from future technology without having to swap the whole car out or pay for an expensive retrofit. The leg work has already been done.
So, this could prove to be a very good thing for Stellantis.
Featured image provide by Stellantis and Ample.