Stellantis eyes cheaper EVs with sodium ion battery partnership Car News

Stellantis has taken a step towards drastically reducing the price of its future electric cars by partnering with a company that produces sodium ion batteries.

Sodium ion has been touted by several manufacturers as a more cost-effective battery chemistry that could pave the way for much cheaper EVs in the near future.

For example, Dacia boss Denis Le Vot has said the next-generation electric Sandero could use the technology and Chinese giant BYD recently signed a $1.2 billion contract to build the world’s largest sodium battery factory in Xuzhou, with an eye on specifically powering small cars and scooters.

Stellantis has invested in Amiens-based Tiamat, a spin-off of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, which is claimed to be the first company in the world to commercialise a sodium ion battery.

Tiamat will use the revenue generated in its latest funding round, which included Stellantis’s undisclosed investment, to build a new sodium ion battery factory in France.

This new factory will first build batteries for power tools and energy storage devices but will scale up to eventually produce “second-generation” cells for battery-electric cars. No timeframe has been given.

Stellantis said the implications of its new partnership will be significant for its future vehicles: “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.”

The multinational giant has previously vocalised a plan to cut battery weight in its EVs by 50% by introducing new lightweight technologies and more efficient cell packaging.

It also recently invested in American company Lytten, which is developing lithium-sulphur batteries.

Tiamat has said sodium ion is a “stable chemistry for simple, safe, fast and performing solutions”.

It’s aiming to achieve charging times of just five minutes and claims its batteries – with an impressive power density of 2-5kW per kilogram – retain up to 80% capacity after 5000 charge cycles.

Ned Curic, chief engineering and technology officer at Stellantis, said: “Exploring new options for more sustainable and affordable batteries that use widely available raw materials is a key part of our ambitions of the Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan that will see us reach carbon net-zero by 2038.

“Our customers are asking for emissions-free vehicles that offer a combination of robust driving range, performance and affordability. This is our North Star, as Stellantis and its partners work today to develop ground-breaking technologies for the future.”


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This notice was published: 2024-01-12 10:38:33


VW Group hails ‘encouraging’ solid-state battery tests Car News

The Volkswagen Group has revealed that new solid-sate battery cells developed by partner QuantumScape have shown encouraging results in recent tests, with a better range and significantly less degradation than both its existing lithium ion batteries and rival solid-state cells.

During the tests, run by Volkswagen Group battery division PowerCo in Germany, the cells are claimed to have experienced a minimal 5% storage capacity loss after more than 1000 charging cycles – the equivalent of 311,000 miles on the road for an electric car with a range between 311 and 372 miles, according to the German car maker.

The Volkswagen Group said current automotive industry standard targets call for 700 charging cycles and a maximum storage capacity loss of 20%. 

In an official statement on the tests, PowerCo said the new cells were also able to meet requirements for other test criteria, including fast-charging capability, safety and self-discharge.

“These are very encouraging results,” said PowerCo CEO Frank Blome. “The final result of this development could be a battery cell that enables long ranges, can be charged super-quickly and practically does not age.”

Solid-state batteries replace the liquid electrolyte and separator of lithium ion batteries, both of which are considered volatile due to potential flammability, with a solid separator typically made of ceramic, polymer or glass.

VW battery pouch

QuantumScape’s in-house-developed ceramic separator is claimed to be one of the defining elements of the new cells tested by PowerCo. 

The San Jose-based company delivered its first batch of 24-layer solid-state cells to its automotive partners, including the Volkswagen Group, for testing in December 2022. Since then, it has developed more advanced cells, although it has yet to reveal exact details or specification.

QuantumScape CEO Jagdeep Singh said it is seeking to place its new cells in large-scale production “as quickly as possible”.


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This notice was published: 2024-01-04 10:01:05


Stellantis working on hydrogen combustion engines Car News

Stellantis is working on hydrogen combustion engines as one of four different solutions to zero-emissions driving, CEO Carlos Tavares has said.

Tavares was speaking at the opening of the Symbio hydrogen fuel cell factory in Lyon, France. Symbio is an equally owned joint venture between Stellantis, automotive supplier Forvia and tyre maker Michelin.

Stellantis – which owns 14 car makers, including Alfa Romeo, Citroën, Jeep, Peugeot and Vauxhall – is trying to diversify the number of drivetrains available under European Union decarbonisation rules.

“Hydrogen injection is one of the four technologies we’re working on,” Tavares said after the plant opening. 

He criticised legislators for their “brutal” methods to move car makers away from fossil fuels and steering them towards EVs.

“Now the dogmatic thinking is being hurt by reality, because if you aren’t affordable, then people can’t pay for it,” he said.

Stellantis is diversifying its drivetrain options to cater to those customers for whom EV charging is a drawback.

“The real competition is starting between fuel cell, EVs, hydrogen internal combustion engines and even synthetic fuels,” Tavares said. “We will see in the next few years what is going to be the best solution for the citizens.” 

Burning hydrogen in combustion engines has been seen as the easiest solution for zero-emissions driving, especially among commercial vehicle makers, given the lack of disruption to supply chains it would cause compared with BEVs or FCEVs.

Petrol engines need to be modified to accept hydrogen, but much of the same mechanism remains. The hurdles then are establishing a refuelling network and making green hydrogen at scale.

Tavares didn’t say which vehicles would be offered with hydrogen combustion engines, but Stellantis has already begun selling its K0 range of mid-size vans (think the Vauxhall Vivaro) with a hydrogen fuel cell option.

Stellantis will also offer a hydrogen fuel cell version of the Ram Heavy Duty pick-up truck in the US in late 2026 or early 2027, Tavares said.

Hydrogen tanks are easier to package in a van, while the lesser weight of a fuel-cell or hydrogen-combustion van compared with a battery-electric one would allow for a greater payload. 

Toyota has demonstrated hydrogen combustion engines in both Toyota Yaris and Toyota Corolla race cars running in Japan, while the Renault Group has showcased one in the Alpine Alpenglow supercar concept.


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This notice was published: 2023-12-05 17:46:31