AEHRA Said Its BEVs Will Have a Repairable Battery Pack, But Will They Really?

I have just written about how BEV startups can be very different from each other, with only a few having any chance of survival. AEHRA is an Italian BEV startup that presented what seemed to be renderings of an SUV in November 2022. It also promised to show a sedan in February 2023. The first teasers of that vehicle emerged only in May, but the company got my attention with something more important: the promise of using a repairable battery pack.
AEHRA will present its sedan on June 16: it should have emerged in February 20 photos
Photo: AEHRA
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According to AEHRA, it is creating an entirely new component with Miba Battery Systems, an Austrian company. The Italian startup said that "the development process will optimize battery sustainability and repairability, to ensure long life of both the battery unit and the vehicle." Unfortunately, that was all the Italian startup, and its supplier were willing to share about that. I have contacted both companies and have not heard from them so far.

Although neither company has elaborated on what they mean, it is refreshing to hear that at least one enterprise knows how crucial this is. So far, most carmakers are deciding to offer new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) without explaining when their battery packs will need to be replaced or if they are repairable. They actually treat these components as if they would last as much as the vehicle, and we already know that this is not true. Whether by use or age, batteries will eventually die. With the current cell technology, that will happen before the motors or the body deteriorates.

AEHRA will have a repairable battery pack from Miba
Photo: AEHRA
When that occurs, these customers will end up with a vehicle that could still drive if it was not for a massive component that costs around $20,000 to replace. Most used cars will not cost that much, which will make them disposable as soon as the battery packs fail. This is not a concern for new BEV drivers, which have warranty protection to shield them against any such issues. Used vehicle buyers are the ones who should beware. If most used cars in the future are BEVs, they will have fewer options left. That is why it would be interesting to hear what AEHRA thinks it can do to help if it ever sells a car.

The Italian startup wants Miba Battery Systems to give its vehicles a 120-kWh battery pack as the primary option. Only such a unit would provide the 800-kilometer (497-mile) range the startup promised its electric SUV would have. AEHRA also mentioned a 100-kWh component, which suggests it may have two battery pack options when (and if) its vehicles are put for sale. AEHRA previously said that would happen in 2025. When it showed the new images for its sedan, it said we should only see these BEVs in 2026.

Photo: AEHRA
The Miba battery pack should have "a peak voltage at full charge of 925V with the capacity to charge at up to 350 kW." It should also have the FLEXcooler cooling system, which the Austrian company claims to be the most lightweight and efficient of such systems to be available today. Again, there is no explanation for those claims, which demands comparison to the state-of-the-art battery cooling system. Neither Miba nor AEHRA said which reference they used.

The SUV was presented to a selected few in Milan on November 8, 2022. There is no information if it is a functioning prototype or just a mockup. Considering that the battery pack is still under development and that the production car will only arrive three years from now, a mockup is the most likely possibility. The sedan should be the first AEHRA product to have a public presentation: it will be displayed at the 2023 MIMO (Milano Monza Motor Show), which takes place from June 16 to June 18.

AEHRA will present its sedan on June 16\: it should have emerged in February
Photo: AEHRA
For the Italian startup's battery pack to be repairable, it is probably divided into modules, with a pack that is easy to open and service. There are some significant difficulties with that, such as balancing the voltage between the modules, but Miba may have solved them or is about to do that. I'll ask the Austrian company if it is ever willing to share more details.

That is the opposite direction of what all other BEV makers are doing. They are using cell-to-pack (CTP) or cell-to-body (CTB) building approaches with the goal of increasing energy density. In other words, if a battery pack gets rid of structural components, it can dedicate more space to cells and energy storage. CTB is even more radical: theoretically, the cells are integrated directly into the vehicle's body, eliminating the pack. If the cells fail, wave the BEV bye-bye.

Photo: AEHRA
I hope AEHRA makes it to production. It would be a pity if the beautiful design created by Filippo Perini got restricted to renderings and prototypes, but it would also not be the first time, especially in the economic scenario the world currently faces. If that does not happen, AEHRA will already have made more for personal mobility than most other BEV startups by proposing a fundamental discussion, crucial to make electric cars powered by a battery pack be truly sustainable.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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