Stellantis partners EV battery startup Ample for its Spanish rental fleet

(Reuters) – Chrysler-parent Stellantis NV on Thursday said that it will integrate swappable battery technology in its fleet of rental electric vehicles as it looks to win over potential customers concerned about range anxiety and long charge times.

Stellantis said it has signed onto a partnership with San Francisco-based developer of swappable electric vehicle (EV) batteries, Ample, which uses an automated process for quickly swapping out depleted batteries for newly charged packs.

Under the partnership, Stellantis’ EV owners will be able to replace their discharged batteries for freshly charged ones in a few minutes at one of Ample’s battery swapping stations.

The initial program is set to begin in Spain in 2024 using a fleet of 100 Fiat 500e models within Stellantis’ Free2move car sharing service, the company said.

Typically, Ample sets up and manages the infrastructure, while fleets that use their services pay for energy use.

San Francisco-based Ample is part of a growing group of companies, including Chinese EV makers Nio and Xpeng, trying to revive an old idea to overcome charging hurdles by offering quick battery swaps to EV owners concerned about range anxiety and long charge times.

The battery startup’s modular batteries are designed to be a drop-in replacement for an EVs original battery, which can fit into any electric vehicle and will allow Stellantis to integrate the tech without reengineering its vehicle platforms.

Ample in May also partnered with EV-maker Fisker to deliver its sports utility vehicle Ocean with swappable batteries. It previously also partnered with ride services company Uber in California.

(Reporting by Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)