Imagine you’re driving in your brand new electric vehicle, going for an interview that you really need or else you’ll have to sell your new car. Suddenly you realize that you didn’t charge it for the day and bam your battery runs out. What will you do? You can’t wait for it to charge again, you’ll miss your interview. No worries because Ample has your back.
This startup is offering replaceable batteries on the go from one of the 5 stations deployed in the Bay area. No need to wait for your battery to charge when you can just swap out for a new one for around 13$. Around 100 Uber drivers in the Bay area driving the Nissan Leaf to use these stations. The practice is actually quite possible in the Asian markets where a lot of people are owners of electric vehicles.
According to Ample, they are making on average 1.3 swaps a day. Though that may not seem as Ample operation is tiny in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of charging areas in the US but the start-up’s founders know that this is the future if the US wants to transition to electric vehicles.
Khaled Hassounah spoke about what’s happening in China saying that “They’ve already made the determination that swapping has to be a significant part of the solution. We don’t have enough deployment yet to realize that we need this in the U.S”. The US is still behind in the swapping scene but that doesn’t mean that swapping is the norm in China. Many people still prefer to charge their batteries so the swapping industry is just a small cog in the machine.
Since founding the company back in 2014, Khaled Hassounah and John de Souza have raised about $70 million to date from all of their investors, which include Royal Dutch Shell plc and Repsol SA. Their swapping stations lift the car off of the ground, unload the depleted batteries and replace them with a fully charged set in just under 12 minutes.
Each station holds around 10 cars worth of batteries, all of which are recharging as cars come and go to swap for a fully charged one. This allows them to deliver energy at a rate between 500 kilowatts and 1.5 megawatts per hour with a connection of only 60 to 100 kilowatts.
I’m sure compatibility is a big issue, having replaceable batteries for multiple manufacturers seems like a complicated task.