Battery swapping systems are a dream that has been pursued for more than a decade as a solution to the fear of being left without autonomy. But for now, only NIO supports it in passenger cars after others have failed. But now the giant Stellar partnered with North America for the development of a pilot program that will allow the deployment of 100 units of electric FIAT 500 able to change its battery in a few minutes.
Stellantis and Ample have signed a binding agreement to establish a partnership in electric vehicle battery charging technology capable of providing a fully charged battery in less than five minutes. The two partners agreed to work to integrate Ample’s Modular Battery Swapping solution into Stellantis electric vehicles.
The initial program is set to begin next year in Madrid and will serve to support a fleet of 100 Fiat 500e within the Stellantis Free2move car sharing service.
These units will be adapted to accommodate multiple batteries. Some packages are designed to directly replace the original electric battery, and it achieves this thanks to its modular design that allows it to adapt to any model on the market. Something that would allow Stellantis to integrate Ample’s technology without having to redesign its platforms.
In addition, multiple battery exchange stations can be installed in public areas in just three days, allowing for a flexible infrastructure.
Its operation is simple, and when an Ample-enabled electric vehicle approaches an Ample station, it will immediately recognize it. Once parked inside, the driver starts changing the battery from the mobile application, resulting in a fully charged battery in less than five minutes and fully automatic.
There are currently no details on the cost of the service for customers who want to use this alternative, but Stellantis has confirmed that it will be used, You must register a monthly subscription which, on the one hand, means having to rent the battery, with a fixed monthly cost, but instead, buying the car will be cheaper, because you don’t have to pay for the battery.
A different alternative that allows you to suddenly eliminate the concern about autonomy, but faces challenges such as the usual high cost, and also the limitation imposed by the number of stations in operation, which at the moment only allow you to move more specifically. areas and limited.
Does it have a future in the medium and long term? In China, NIO has deployed a network of over 1,000 stations connecting major cities and allow long journeys to be made with stopping times similar to those of a car with a combustion engine.
But as we said, that has a cost, and can “refuel” quickly This means having to constantly pay rent for the battery. And that in an era where charging stations are increasing in number and intensity, may cause the impact of battery changing stations to be diluted, and remain in specific market niches such as professional applications, taxi, goods distribution, or car sharing systems.