Battery swap startup Ample publicly unveiled its second-generation station design in San Francisco today. This next chapter in US battery swaps is the culmination of thousands of previous swaps performed by Ample, which has now cut its processes down to a mere five minutes.
Ample is a California-based startup that has tasked itself with helping get 1 billion electric vehicles on roads around to world. To assist in this, Ample has developed modular battery swap stations that not only alleviate some grid dependency but can get EVs back on roads more quickly. Per its website:
Ample’s mission is to accelerate the transition to electric mobility by offering an energy delivery solution that is as fast, as convenient, and as cheap as gas while being powered by 100% renewable energy. We are a team of technologists, designers, and environmental enthusiasts who believe that this problem is among one of the most critical challenges of our time.
Others believe in Ample’s technology as well. To date the startup has raised over $270 million in funding to support its development, including $31 million in Series A funding from Shell back in 2018.
In March of 2021, Ample began deploying its first generation of autonomous battery swapping stations around San Francisco. Today, the startup has shown The Golden City what it can expect to see in its next generation of swap stations – designed to be installed more quickly and function even more efficiently.
Ample’s battery swap station supports a variety of EVs
Leveraging its experience working with rideshare companies like Uber and last-mile delivery startup Sally, Ample has been able to not only test its modular battery swap technology but also gather plenty of data to address client needs.
The startup states that electric last-mile fleet vehicles, in particular, can spend upward of 10-12 hours of a work week sitting at a charging station. For passenger EV drivers in crowded cities like San Francisco, Ample says it has recognized that there is a lack of reliable EV charging, especially for those who don’t have access to garages to replenish overnight.
Ample’s solution is its second-generation swap station, designed the support all of the EV types mentioned above, with the goal of converting more drivers to electric by offering a lateral “refueling” solution on par with a trip to the gas station. Per Ample:
Approaching the Ample station, the car is recognized by the station and its door is automatically raised. Once perfectly parked inside, the driver initiates the swap from the Ample app on her phone. Five minutes later, the driver is back on the road resuming her work day. While it may sound simple, the next generation of our EV battery swapping system is a major feat that took years of R&D, thousands of swaps and more than a million electric miles driven behind the scenes to make it possible.
Ample’s modular battery technology not only expands swap capabilities beyond passenger EVs to last-mile delivery vehicles, but its latest swap station cuts its entire process down from ten to five minutes.
Additionally, Ample states that its new stations are even easier to implement and can be installed and operational in three days. The station is delivered as a few pre-built sections that are erected on site, all without the need for any digging – just like Ample’s first-generation design. The stations can also be stacked side-by-side so that multiple EVs can receive swaps simultaneously.
Ample relayed that its new generation of stations have been “battle-tested” to endure extreme temperatures and weather conditions, allowing the startup to deploy its technology in more inclement cities around the US.
We hope to check out its second-generation station up close soon. In the meantime, here’s a video of Ample’s original swap station design.
Author: Scooter Doll