Like many other makers, Stellantis is hustling to make certain it has enough access to batteries for its growing portfolio of EVs.
With sales for battery-electric vehicles in the U.S. skyrocketing nearly 100% through September and studies showing it’s only going to keep going, the automaker is following the lead of much of the industry by securing two new partnerships in back-to-back days.
The company reportedly struck a deal with South Korean battery maker Samsung SDI, according to a Reuters report. The pair will jointly produce batteries for the North American market. It’s unclear where production will take place, but media reports from South Korea suggest it will be in the U.S.
The deal comes on the heels of yesterday’s official announcement of plans to create a U.S.-based joint venture with LG Energy, which also produces batteries for General Motors and Hyundai.
Focus on North America
Stellantis revealed in July it plans to spend $35 billion on the development and production of battery-electric vehicles. CEO Carlos Tavares has since suggested that dollar figure will rise in the near future. He also said at the time, battery production is critical to meet the needs of the 55 plug-in hybrids and BEVs coming.
“Today, we talking about five gigafactories,” Tavares said during a virtual roundtable with members of the Automotive Press Association July 21. “Perhaps, in a few months we will be talking about more.”
The plan — at the time — called for two in North America, three more in Europe. It appears the two in North America are ready to happen. In fact the first plant with LG Energy is expected to begin production in the first quarter of 2024, the company said. At full capacity, it will produce 40 gigawatt hours.
“Today’s announcement is further proof that we are deploying our aggressive electrification road map and are following through on the commitments we made during our EV Day event in July,” Tavares said in a statement.
“With this, we have now determined the next ‘gigafactory’ coming to the Stellantis portfolio to help us achieve a total minimum of 260 gigawatt hours of capacity by 2030.”
Not alone in pursuit of better batteries
Stellantis’ moves were matched by BMW’s iVentures plans to invest in startup battery maker Our Next Energy, or ONE. The Detroit-area company just closed its latest round of fundraising, securing $25 million.
The nascent battery development enterprise says it has new technology that can double the current range of electric vehicles. Additionally, the composition of its batteries moves away from cobalt and its substantial downsides.
The company is working bringing two new technologies to market, starting with Aries, which will go into production at the end of 2022. It has an energy density of 287 Wh/L, at a system level. The Aries battery pack will use Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) chemistry in a Structural Cell to Pack architecture having the highest known cell to pack ratio of 76 percent.
“In simple terms, this has allowed ONE’s first production customer to increase range and reduce cost while eliminating nickel- and-cobalt supply chain and safety concerns,” the company said in a release.
The second, Gemini, uses ONE’s proprietary energy management system and chemistry in a dual battery range extender architecture. This approach yields 450 Wh/L at a system level, further improving range and cost beyond the Aries platform.
Gemini is the big breakthrough product as the company believes this battery system will allow electric vehicles to travel more than 750 miles on a single charge.
“Leveraging our Series A investment, ONE will accelerate product development of both Aries and Gemini batteries,” said Mujeeb Ijaz, founder and CEO of Our Next Energy. “We are thrilled to include the experience and leadership of these strategic investors as we execute our vision to create energy storage systems with safer and more sustainable battery chemistries.”