Stellantis and Ample form a partnership in electric vehicle battery charging technology capable of delivering a fully charged EV battery in less than five minutes.
The two companies agree to work toward integrating Ample’s Modular Battery Swapping solution in Stellantis electric vehicles. Battery swapping technology allows an EV customer who stops at a battery swapping station to have its depleted EV battery exchanged for a fully charged battery in a matter of minutes.
Battery swapping as a remedy for fast-charging is an idea gaining some traction in Europe and China, which is dominated by cities and dense pockets of mobile populations, a contrast to the U.S. with its vast open spaces and expensive urban real estate where battery swapping has not taken hold.
Nevertheless, the two companies are also discussing an expansion of Ample’s swapping platform into Stellantis’s fleet operation, as well as other geographic markets.
The initial program to come out of the agreement is planned to begin in 2024 in Madrid, Spain, using a fleet of 100 Fiat 500e subcompacts within Stellantis’ Free2move car sharing service. The Fiat 500e is Stellantis’ highest-selling EV.
“The partnership with Ample is another example of how Stellantis is exploring all avenues that enable freedom of mobility for our electric vehicle customers,” says 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.”
Adds Ample CEO Khaled Hassounah: ”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.”
Ample batteries are designed to be a drop-in replacement for an EV’s original battery. This is made possible by Ample’s modular batteries, which can fit into any EV and would allow Stellantis to integrate Ample’s technology without re-engineering its vehicle platforms.
Ample’s lightweight battery swapping stations can also be deployed in public areas in as little as three days, allowing for a rapidly scalable infrastructure that can meet drivers’ demand. When an Ample-enabled EV approaches the Ample station, the vehicle is immediately recognized by the station. Once parked inside, the driver initiates the battery swap from the mobile app resulting in a fully charged battery in less than five minutes.
Battery swapping faces headwinds. Chinese EV company Nio has carved out a battery-swapping niche in the country’s luxury market. The swapping model could mitigate range anxiety that, surveys show, plagues would-be EV owners. Yet, even in China, the technology has yet to be fully embraced.
In the U.S., Stellantis is investing in fast-charging infrastructure. It is, for example, part of a consortium of seven automakers – with BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes-Benz – adding to public fast-charging, targeting at least 30,000 new high-powered charge points in urban and highway locations.
As part of its Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan, Stellantis is pursuing plans to reach a 100% passenger-car battery-electric vehicle (BEV) sales mix in Europe and 50% passenger car and light-duty truck BEV sales mix in the U.S. by 2030.