Stellantis bets €30bn on solid state batteries

Stellantis bets €30bn on solid state batteries

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Stellantis plans to invest more than €30bn in electrification and software by 2025 with a move to solid state battery technology for its cars and trucks as well as a hydrogen fuel cell truck later this year.

The Amsterdam-based company includes Peugeot, Citroen, Vauxhall, Fiat and Chrysler in its 14 brands. It is designing four electric vehicle platforms for these brands that are upgradeable via both software and hardware, and plans to have versions using solid state batteries by 2026. This will make electric vehicles the same cost as current vehicles with combustion engines.

The company will be producing over 130GWh of batteries by 2025, doubling to 260GWh by 2030, supported by five gigafactories between Europe and North America

Plans include dual battery chemistries with a high energy-density option and a nickel cobalt-free alternative by 2024 and significant cost reductions in the battery technology.

To avoid increased costs from sourcing lithium, the company has signed MOUs with two lithium geothermal brine process partners in North America and Europe to ensure a sustainable supply of lithium for its battery cells. It aims to reduce battery pack costs by more than 40 percent from 2020 to 2024 and by more than an additional 20 percent by 2030. All aspects of the battery pack play a role in reducing the costs – optimizing the overall pack, simplifying the format of the modules, increasing the size of the battery cells and upgrading the battery chemistry. 

The €30bn spending over the next four years will include equity investments made in joint ventures such as ACC, its battery joint venture with Total.

Stellantis currently has or is completing several key technology joint ventures, ranging from e-powertrain and e-transmission operations to battery cell chemistry and production and digital cockpit and personalized connected services.

“The customer is always at the heart of Stellantis and our commitment with this €30 billion plus investment plan is to offer iconic vehicles that have the performance, capability, style, comfort and electric range that fit seamlessly into their daily lives,” said Carlos Tavares, Chief Executive Officer, Stellantis. “The strategy we laid out today focuses the right amount of investment on the right technology to reach the market at the right time, ensuring that Stellantis powers the freedom of movement in the most efficient, affordable and sustainable way.”

The commercial vehicle electrification rollout will extend to all products and all regions over the next three years, including the delivery of hydrogen fuel cell medium vans by the end of 2021.

The Company intends to maximize the full value of the battery life cycle through repair, remanufacturing, second-life use and recycling, as well as ensure a sustainable system that prioritizes customer needs and environmental concerns.

The four EV vehicle platforms will have ranges between 500-800 km/300-500 miles and with fast charging capability of 32 km/20 miles per minute. An MoU Free2Move eSolutions and Engie EPS will provide fast charging for Europe and the aim is to mimic Free2Move eSolutions’ business model for the North American market.

The four platforms are:

  • STLA Small, with a range up to 500 kilometers/300 miles
  • STLA Medium, with a range up to 700 kilometers/440 miles
  • STLA Large, with a range up to 800 kilometers/500 miles
  • STLA Frame, with a range up to 800 kilometers/500 miles

Propulsion includes a family of three electric drive modules (EDM) that combine the motor, gearbox and inverter. These EDMs are compact, flexible and can be easily scaled. The EDMs can be configured for front-drive, rear-drive, all-wheel drive and 4xe.

A program of hardware upgrades and over-the-air software updates will extend the life of the platforms well into the next decade. Stellantis will develop software and controls in-house to maintain the characteristics unique to each brand.

Battery packs will be tailored for a variety of vehicles – from smaller city cars to energy-dense packs for performance vehicles and trucks. Use of two battery chemistries is planned by 2024 to support various customer needs: a high energy-density option and a nickel cobalt-free alternative with the solid state packs in 2026.

“Our electrification journey is quite possibly the most important brick to lay as we start to reveal the future of Stellantis just six months after its birth, and now the entire company is in full execution mode to exceed every customer’s expectations and accelerate our role in redefining the way the world moves,” said Tavares. “We have the scale, the skills, the spirit and the sustainability to achieve double-digit Adjusted Operating Income margins, lead the industry with benchmark efficiencies and deliver electrified vehicles that ignite passion.”

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