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Stellantis, Ample to introduce battery swap stations in Europe

Stellantis (STLA) and battery swapping startup Ample announced a new partnership to bring swap stations to Europe in 2024. The tie-up comes as the battery exchange market set to expand, with the market at over $1 billion in 2022 per Global Market Insights.

Ample Co-Founder John de Souza compares the technology to "a gas station for electric cars." By rapidly exchanging depleted packs for fully-charged ones, drivers avoid prolonged charging waits.

In teaming with Stellantis, de Souza cites the automaker's wide vehicle range, global presence, and EV expertise as ideal for scale. Launching with Fiat's 500e city, he notes owners in cities often lack overnight charging access, making the growth for battery swap potential even greater.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Yahoo Finance Live.

Video transcript

RACHELLE AKUFFO: Well, Stellantis and Ample have just announced their new battery-swapping partnership that is set to roll out in Europe in the coming year. According to Global Market Insights, the battery-swapping market is set to expand, valued at around $15 billion in 2032. But battery swapping still has a lot of ground to cover to catch up with charging stations. Let's bring in Ample co-founder, John Souza, to discuss competing in the EV space. Welcome to the show.

So for people who aren't familiar with the battery-swapping technology-- I know that it's quite prevalent in China and also as we're starting to see it in Europe. But what are we seeing in the US at the moment?

JOHN DE SOUZA: Well, battery-swapping just the way it works is similar to a gas station for electric cars. You drive in. You spend five minutes. The empty batteries are taken out, and new batteries are put in. So it's a very quick, simple experience. So from an experience perspective, it's something that people are very familiar with. There's a lot of it happening in China. As you say, they deliver a tremendous amount of their energy through battery-swapping.

Right now we're in the US. And in Europe, we are the forefront in terms of going through and doing it. There have been attempts at doing it, but I think what we've really done that differentiates this is the ability to work with different size vehicles. It can be small, city cars, big, delivery trucks, as well as full range of different types of vehicles without asking the partner, you know, Stellantis to make any changes to the vehicle.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: So talk about that. Because some people have been wondering, you know, depending on the type of battery you have, the type of vehicle that you have, in terms of wide-scale adoption for something like this. So why start with Stellantis? And what might that-- tone might that set as you look at perhaps other vehicles and partners to partner with?

JOHN DE SOUZA: Stellantis fits really well for a few things. One, is they have an incredible range of electric vehicles. They go all the way from city cars, delivery vans, delivery trucks. So they cover the range of what customers want. The thing is they have a global footprint. The move to electric is in Europe, US, Asia, across all of it. And lastly, is you want a partner that has a lot of experience working with electric, and they've been working with electric for a long time.

So we're going with them. We're starting off with a-- with a car I love, the Fiat 50oe. It's a beautiful car. And it's a city car. A lot of people living in cities don't have access to overnight charging. They don't have garages. They don't have places to park. So it's a great option for them to say you can go through and drive it, and whenever you need energy, stop for a few minutes. We'll expand that range as we look at different segments going all the way to, you know, from passenger cars to delivery.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And when people think about the costs-- obviously, at the moment, most people still know that either the plugin that you could do at home as you mentioned there, but that requires, you know, you have to have a home with a garage or a driveway or something versus then having to wait at a public charging station. Talk about the cost, though, of EV charging at a traditional station versus going through the battery swap.

JOHN DE SOUZA: Actually it's a really good one because a lot of people tell me if I have a brand new car-- battery in my car, I don't want to swap it out. But the model is slightly different. You actually don't buy that battery anymore. So you actually buy the car less the cost of the battery. So you're paying less for the battery upfront, and then you pay a monthly-- a small monthly battery subscription.

So you're not buying this battery. So you drive in, you're paying a battery subscription, and then you pay a cost for the energy as similar as you do for electricity or for gas. Overall costs, it ends up being very good. You're not taking on the costs of-- of the battery. And so it ends up being-- it ends up being very attractive to the customer to switch to this.