Stellantis and Ample are beginning a new battery-swapping partnership by servicing a car-sharing fleet of Fiat 500e EVs in Madrid, Spain. The proposed site is slated to open in 2024, and the modular battery-swapping tech should expand to privately-owned Fiat 500s before potentially developing other Stellantis EVs to work with this system as well. Ample claims its battery-swapping robots can yank your cells out and replace them with a fully charged pack in under five minutes.
Stellantis has committed to a 100 percent EV fleet in Europe by 2030, and at least 50 percent EV in the U.S. by the same date. This battery-swapping technology is one way that the automaker hopes to assuage customers’ range anxiety and concerns over lengthy charging times.
There are certainly some major benefits to battery-swapping technology. A well-organized system like this could result in a reduced strain on the electric grid during peak use times, allowing multiple packs to charge in the middle of the night or during of the workday, instead of at 5:30pm. when everyone gets home from work. This can also reduce long wait times at stacked charging stations, as a car can come and go in just five minutes instead of 30 minutes.
Battery swap tech has been functional and operation in China for at least a few years, as NIO says it will have around 2,300 “Power Swap Stations” in use by the end of 2023. It could take the buildout of at least that many stations for Stellantis and Ample to be seen as a viable method of getting your daily dose of electrons.
Don’t expect this experimental process to be implemented any time soon. For one thing, it certainly won’t be viable if the only cars that can use it are Fiat 500s, or even just Stellantis products for that matter. These battery-swapping stations will have to essentially convince every other automaker to convert to a modular swappable battery for the tech to really take off. I’m not sure I’d hold out any hope of that happening.
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