“The system is quite unique to us,” explained Mike Cutts, business line director at Iveco. “We’ve developed it in-house. Our ladder-frame chassis is perfectly designed for that modularity – not just for [battery] electric but also for adaptation to hydrogen in the future.”
Iveco and Hyundai have partnered on hydrogen and other future projects, with Hyundai’s fuel cell tech already having been showcased in Iveco van and bus concepts – although neither firm has categorically suggested Iveco’s modular battery tech could make it into Hyundai’s passenger vehicles.
Cutts emphasised that there aren’t yet any plans to licence the technology: “It’s a unique feature to us, so we’d likely want to keep that in-house.”
Stephen Powell, alternative propulsion lead for Iveco, said the batteries have been designed to fit between the ladder-frame chassis. “But there’s no reason, in theory, why they couldn’t be designed to work with other platforms,” he added. “It would depend on the vehicle, be it passenger vehicle or otherwise, as long as it was designed around the modular batteries.”
The benefits of battery swapping
Iveco may be the first company to bring this sort of battery-swap technology to mass production in Europe, but others have been eyeing modular batteries for a while. As well as Nio, with its roadside swap, battery manufacturing giant CATL is another huge player to have recently announced a ‘module-to-bracket’ system aimed at trucks and construction machinery.