Stellantis adds another institution to its list of next-generation energy storage partners searching for the sustainable EV battery of the future.

Stellantis Seeks New EV Battery, Free From Sketchy Materials

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Now that electric vehicles have entrenched their place in the mobility market, improving the sustainability profile of the EV battery is next on the list. Stellantis has made some interesting moves in that direction over the past couple of years, and it has just leveled up its game under a new partnership with CEA, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.​

Why Is The CEA Searching For A New EV Battery?

If you’re wondering why a research institution with “Atomic Energy” in its name is searching for a new, more sustainable EV battery, that’s a good question. Nuclear energy is a core element in the CEA’s mandate. However, the agency also covers renewable energy technologies, and its current portfolio is focused on combining the two resources in various ways for energy storage as well as power generation.

Since electric vehicles run on electricity, energy storage and power generation assets risk suffering the knock-on effects of a world overrun with EV batteries in need of a charge. A new generation of resource-conserving batteries would help smooth out the kinks as more drivers switch to zero emission mobility.

As explained by CEA Energy Division Head Philippe Stohr, the new partnership with Stellantis leverages the institution’s 25+ years of experience in lithium-ion battery research. “Our challenge is to speed up design and fabrication,” Stohr said in a press statement dated July 3.

“We know that battery technology is poised for change,” added Stellantis Chief Engineering and Technology Officer Ned Curic. “While we don’t know exactly how it will change, we are committed to be at the forefront of this transformation.”

Many Paths To The Perfect EV Battery

Curic also emphasized that the company has established an EV battery strategy of “placing multiple bets and exploring various technologies,” including research partnerships with other institutions.

It remains to be seen which institutions come out on top. Or, perhaps several new EV battery formulas will emerge in the Stellantis portfolio.

One clue surfaced on January 12, when the Stellantis Ventures arm of Stellantis signaled its interest in sodium-ion battery technology with a strategic investment in the French EV battery firm Tiamat, which spun off from the French National Centre for Scientific Research in 2017.

“Sodium-ion technology offers a lower cost per kilowatt-hour and is free of lithium and cobalt. Abundantly available sodium offers benefits in increased sustainability and material sovereignty,” Stellantis explained. Tiamat had previous won a Stellantis Ventures award last year, as one in a group of 11 “top-performing technology start-ups.”

100% Battery-Electric Vehicle Sales In 2030

The CEA and Tiamat relationships both support Stellantis’s “Dare Forward” electrification plan for 2030. Also in the mix are two US firms, the solid-state EV battery innovator Factorial Energy and the California startup Lyten, which is developing a lithium-sulfur battery.

The Factorial hookup dates back to 2021, with a strategic investment from Stellantis Ventures. Last fall, Factorial announced plans for expanding its facility in Massachusetts to launch its new solid state battery into production (see more Factorial background here).

Lyten has also been on the move. Earlier this year, the company announced that it has shipped A samples of its new lithium-sulfur pouch cells to a number of US and EU manufacturers, including Stellantis, for assessment.

“This milestone further demonstrates Lyten’s global leadership in lithium-sulfur manufacturing, a battery chemistry with the potential to hold more than two times the energy density of lithium-ion and starts the clock for commercial evaluation and adoption by multiple industry leaders,” Lyten enthused in a press statement dated May 8.

Lyten also plans to ship cylinder-style cells for evaluation later this year, aiming at applications beyond the EV battery. Space, aerospace, drones, micromobility, defense, and consumer electronics are all on the company’s to-do list.

A Better EV Battery For The US Military

For years, CleanTechnica has been following the US military’s vehicle electrification plans, with the Department of the Army in the lead due to its massive, diverse fleet. It has been a long, slow slog, but the pace has ticked up in recent months, partly because the Biden administration has been deploying the power of the National Defense Authorization Act to help move things along.

In January, for example, Lyten secured a grant of $4 million from the US Department of Energy, aimed at addressing concerns over EV battery supply chains as well as increasing the range of EV batteries.

“The DoE grant awards for lithium-sulfur follow the passage of National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law last month with bi-partisan support, which will prohibit the U.S. Defense Department from buying batteries produced by China’s largest manufacturers starting in October 2027,” Lyten explained.

“This ban reinforces the urgency to accelerate the development and rapid scale up of rechargeable cells with alternative battery chemistries, like lithium-sulfur, that offer localized supply chains for strategic defense applications and high energy density to support mobility and transportation electrification,” the company added.

 The US Military’s Long, Slow Road To Electrification

In another recent sign of life, last September, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense tapped the University of Texas at Dallas for a $30 million project aimed at shepherding next-generation lithium-ion batteries into the market, with an emphasis on supply chain security.

The three-year grant will support a new energy storage R&D campus at the school, with an expectation of leveraging another $200 million in private capital. The new campus will support the Defense Department’s SCALE (Scaling Capacity and Accelerating Local Enterprises) initiative, aimed at smoothing the path between energy storage innovators and the commercial market.

“The SCALE initiative is built on robust research that indicates market pull is needed to transition innovative technologies into new domestic industrial base capability and capacity,” explains Dr. Laura Taylor-Kale, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy.

Interesting! If all goes according to plan, the new campus will attract more EV battery innovators to Texas, a state that has already attracted its fair share of interest from EV stakeholders.

One recent example is the solid-state battery startup Solidion Technology. Another example is the startup Volcon, which has developed a military-capable version of its sporty electric ATV.

In other recent news, earlier this year the US Army announced that Fort Cavazos in Texas is among the first DoD facilities to install Level 2 EV charging stations at its residential housing units.

In yet another indication that the popularity of electric vehicles is on the wax, not the wane, an Army-produced report on the project indicated that lower costs, improved safety, and the convenience of avoiding trips to a gas station are all benefits of EVs for its fleet.

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Photo (cropped): Stellantis adds another institution to its list of next-generation energy storage partners searching for the sustainable EV battery of the future (courtesy of Stellantis).

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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

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