The road separating EV batteries from hydrogen-fueled mobility is getting thinner, and Stellantis offers instance. Final 12 months the worldwide automaker made some massive strikes within the gasoline cell truck space and threw down a cool $200 million for a stake within the US battery startup Factorial Power, too. Stellantis is already showcasing Factorial’s new solid-state EV batteries this 12 months, which leads one to marvel if they’ve any new gasoline cell information up their sleeves for 2023, too.
The Search For Excellent EV Batteries
Lithium-ion continues to be the expertise of alternative for EV batteries. Nonetheless, automakers are all the time searching for the following massive factor. Stable-state power storage is within the operating as a result of it affords efficiency and security benefits over the liquid electrolyte utilized in typical lithium-ion batteries.
Eco-friendliness is one other attraction. In recent times, automakers have been courting favor with the environmentally delicate members of the car-buying public. They’re leaning on their provide chains to make use of extra sustainable supplies, scale back greenhouse gasoline emissions, and comply with moral enterprise practices.
Stable-state EV batteries typically use extra lithium than typical batteries, which might increase some sustainability points relying on how and the place the lithium is obtained. On the plus aspect, some automakers see an improved potential for recycling solid-state EV batteries, serving to to alleviate strain on virgin sources. Stable-state expertise additionally makes use of considerably much less graphite and cobalt, each of that are fraught with environmental and moral points.
Specifically, the US Division of Power has raised the alarm on cobalt. “Proper now, Co could make as much as 20% of the load of the cathode in lithium ion EV batteries. There are financial, safety, and societal drivers to scale back Co content material,” the Power Division explains.
“Cobalt is mined as a secondary materials from combined nickel (Ni) and copper ores. This implies the availability isn’t impartial of different commodity companies and introducing new restoration tasks is dear,” they add. “Furthermore, the US doesn’t have massive reserves for Co, and the extraction and early stage processing is concentrated in a small variety of nations exterior the US.”
The Diversification Answer
Equally, gasoline cell electrical autos usually are not off the availability chain hook. That’s partly as a result of nearly your entire world provide of hydrogen comes from pure gasoline, together with different fossil sources to a lesser extent.
The surging inexperienced hydrogen market is starting to tamp down that fireside. Many of the inexperienced hydrogen exercise facilities round deploying renewable power to push hydrogen gasoline from water. Landfill gasoline and different types of renewable waste are additionally in use.
Inexperienced hydrogen or not, different sustainability pitfalls stay. A brand new gasoline cell provide chain evaluation launched by the US Division of Power final February describes them intimately.
However, legacy automakers are starting to pivot into gasoline cell EVs in addition to battery EVs. That’s partly as a result of gasoline cells have an edge within the truck market and different heavy-duty makes use of. Automakers might have additionally noticed alternatives to unfold out their provide chain dangers.
The UK startup Tevva illustrates one other rising choice. The corporate’s lengthy vary, zero emission truck makes use of a battery pack for its major energy supply, and it additionally incorporates a gasoline cell vary extender.
Higher EV Batteries For Passenger Vehicles
Regardless of a surge of curiosity in gasoline cells for heavy responsibility autos, gasoline cells have but to crack the passenger automobile market within the US. With that in thoughts, let’s check out Stellantis’ dedication to Factorial Power’s solid-state EV batteries.
Factorial Power got here throughout the CleanTechnica radar in 2021, when Stellantis and Daimler staked a declare on the corporate shortly after it broke into the limelight.
“Apparently Factorial has achieved sufficient progress to draw the large bucks. The corporate emerged from stealth mode in April, and simply few months later, in October, it gathered Kia and Hyundai into its investor fold. Now right here comes Stellantis (Dodge, Fiat, Chrysler, and so forth.) and Daimler (the Mercedes-Benz of us) piling on, with nice enthusiasm,” we noticed.
The Stellantis funding got here with the signing of a joint growth settlement for Factorial’s solid-state battery expertise.
“Our funding in Factorial and different extremely acknowledged battery companions boosts the velocity and agility wanted to offer cutting-edge expertise for our electrical automobile portfolio,” mentioned Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares on the time. “Initiatives like these will yield a quicker time to market and cheaper transition to solid-state expertise.”
“Factorial has developed breakthrough solid-state expertise that addresses key points holding again wide-scale client adoption of electrical autos: driving vary and security,” Stellantis added.
Stellantis introduced everybody in control at CES in Las Vegas final week, previewing a 100 Amp-hour model of Factorial’s “next-generation solid-state battery cells.”
“After already efficiently creating automotive related sized cells of 40 Ah capability, Factorial is introducing even bigger format cells to fulfill the important thing efficiency necessities from their world main automotive OEM companions,” Stellantis defined.
Tavares emphasised that the newest iteration of the solid-state battery weighs much less, makes use of much less cobalt, and delivers as much as 30% extra power density compared with typical lithium-ion EV batteries.
Stellantis additionally chipped in with a reminder that the brand new battery prices much less to provide and takes much less time to provide, too.
Whither Hydrogen Gas Cells?
That results in the following query, which is what are Stellantis’s plans for hydrogen gasoline cell EVs?
That’s query. If all goes in line with plan, someday this 12 months Stellantis will announce the closing of a take care of Faurecia (of Group FORVIA) and Michelin to amass a “substantial stake” of their three way partnership Symbio, which Stellantis describes as “a frontrunner in zero-emission hydrogen mobility.”
“Symbio’s technical roadmap completely matches with Stellantis’ hydrogen roll-out plans in Europe and within the U.S.,” Tavares defined.
“This transfer will foster the velocity of growth to convey low emission merchandise to our clients, past conventional electrical autos,” he emphasised.
Gas cell skeptics needn’t freak out simply but. For now, Stellantis plans to construct on its earlier gasoline cell work with Symbio, which resulted within the launch of a mid-sized van final 12 months. A scaled-up model of the van is within the works, and Stellantis additionally states that it’s trying into the heavy-duty hydrogen gasoline cell truck market.
The deal with the light- and heavy-duty business market lands Stellantis throughout the rising gasoline cell consensus amongst auto makers, which concentrates on extra on bigger autos.
As for gasoline cell passenger automobiles, the US market reveals little signal of splitting open any time quickly. Maintain your eye on fleet automobile operators, although. Fleet managers have helped to push the marketplace for battery-powered EVs, and so they may do the identical for hydrogen. If gasoline cell automobiles have any sort of future within the US, fleets might be the primary signal of motion.
Comply with me on Trainwreck Twitter @TinaMCasey.
Discover me on LinkedIn: @TinaMCasey or Mastodon: @Casey or Publish: @tinamcasey
Picture (cropped): Stable-state EV batteries courtesy of Factorial.
Respect CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech information protection? Think about turning into a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Do not wish to miss a cleantech story? Join day by day information updates from CleanTechnica on e mail. Or comply with us on Google Information!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, wish to promote, or wish to counsel a visitor for our CleanTech Discuss podcast? Contact us right here.