Ned Curic, head of engineering and technology, expressed concerns about the current weight of batteries and vehicles at the inauguration of Stellantis’ new Mirafiori battery technology center in Turin, Italy.
Curic outlined the company’s objective to reduce battery pack weight by 50% by introducing innovative lightweight battery technologies and enhancing cell packaging.
Stellantis recently made an investment in the Silicon Valley-based company Lytten, which specializes in developing lighter lithium-sulphur batteries. These batteries not only contribute to weight reduction but also lower costs and carbon emissions by utilizing less exotic materials compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.
Curic also highlighted sodium-ion batteries as a potential alternative, known for their cost-effectiveness and development by Chinese battery manufacturers such as CATL.
A recent teardown of the BYD Seal saloon conducted by Swiss bank UBS as part of a battery cost report revealed the substantial weight of current EV batteries. In the standard 62kWh Seal, the lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) battery pack accounted for 470kg of the car’s total weight of 1941kg. Even more advanced nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) batteries, as seen in the Renault Mégane E-Tech Electric’s 60kWh pack, still contributed 394kg to the car’s overall weight of 1783kg, according to UBS.
The new Mirafiori facility will empower Stellantis to design, develop, and test battery packs, modules, high-voltage cells, and software for upcoming models from Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Fiat, Peugeot, Vauxhall, and more.
Stellantis has invested 40 million euros (Rs 351 crore) in developing the facility, which repurposes a section of a former Fiat factory and boasts 32 climatic test chambers, enabling parallel testing of up to 47 battery packs.