Automotive

Ample launches automated battery swap station to help drive EV adoption

Ample launches automated batte...
An electric vehicle could have it's old battery modules removed and a fully charged set installed in under 10 minutes
An electric vehicle could have it's old battery modules removed and a fully charged set installed in under 10 minutes
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The Ample battery swap process is completely automated
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The Ample battery swap process is completely automated
The Ample battery swap stations can be assembled in grocery store lots, gas stations or highway rest stops, and only require a flat surface about the size of two parking spaces
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The Ample battery swap stations can be assembled in grocery store lots, gas stations or highway rest stops, and only require a flat surface about the size of two parking spaces
An electric vehicle could have it's old battery modules removed and a fully charged set installed in under 10 minutes
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An electric vehicle could have it's old battery modules removed and a fully charged set installed in under 10 minutes
Ample battery modules are reported compatible with any existing EV
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Ample battery modules are reported compatible with any existing EV
Ample has developed its own "Lego-like" battery modules
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Ample has developed its own "Lego-like" battery modules
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Though the vast majority of cars on the road today run on fossil fuels, that's likely to change in the coming years – as more and more vehicle manufacturers commit to going electric. Startup Ample has come out of R&D stealth mode to help move things along with the launch of an automated battery swap solution for electric vehicles, which makes use of modular battery packs that can be retrofitted to existing EVs.

This is not the first time we've seen a swappable battery solution floated for electric vehicles. Following a number of demo projects, Better Place launched commercially in 2012. But the firm couldn't make the idea pay, and went bust after a year in operation. China's Nio has had more success though, last year celebrating its 500,000th battery swap.

And now Ample is giving it a go, with a solution made up of two main parts. First there's a modular battery architecture that would enable existing vehicles to make use of the second part – the automated battery swap station.

Once a vehicle is fitted with "Lego-like modules," the driver can roll onto the station's platform and, instead of coming up with something useful to do while the EV is cabled to a charger, the automated process whips out the spent modules and replaces them with fully charged fresh ones in under 10 minutes. Removed modules are then recharged, ready for the next vehicle to roll in.

The Ample battery swap process is completely automated
The Ample battery swap process is completely automated

It's not yet clear exactly how much all of this will cost drivers, but another aim of the project is to get "refueling" costs down as low as with gasoline. The company has also designed its setup so that a swapping station can be assembled on site, will take up approximately two parking spaces at the grocery store lot, gas station, highway rest stop or fleet service area, and a network could be rolled out to "an entire metropolitan are" in a few weeks. And Ample says it has solar and wind resources at its disposal too, to ease the load on the grid.

To kick off its rollout, Ample is focusing on fleets in the Bay Area, with Uber among its first ride-sharing, last-mile delivery and municipal fleet clients. The company is now inviting other fleet operators and automakers to join the project and help the company get more EVs on the road – at least a billion according to the launch announcement. The video below has more.

Introducing Ample: A New Way to Deliver Energy to Any Electric Vehicle

Source: Ample

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6 comments
6 comments
Username
This is a good solution for people whose original ev battery has run its course.
michael_dowling
I wonder how much the modular battery architecture costs to install? What becomes of the factory battery? Maybe selling it could pay for battery swap conversion? Can't see this appealing to millions of EV owners,especially those with their own driveway/garage charging ability. For people living in flats,it could have some use. Tesla Superchargers seem to be the solution for cross country driving-after hours of driving,stopping for a rest,bathroom break and a meal is a welcome thing. As with FCEVs,it is a chicken and egg situation.
Winterbiker
I think this makes a great deal of sense, I am hopeful that they will succeed with this business model. I do hope they are considering cold and inclement weather issues in their design though. The video showed a very nice clean battery swap. What is going to happen when a vehicle comes in with ice, or frozen road grime/mud stuck to the bottom? In answer to my own question, these things can be dealt with, they just need to plan for it.
ljaques
They'll likely have to have a steam cleaner and blow drier set up for winter drivers. Then again, Nio has been plagued by vehicle fires and battery recalls. The idea is great. Now let's make it work. One other drawback is reinstalling someone's ancient battery after a charge, which only gives you about 70% of the range you needed. Oops!
michael_dowling
Winterbiker: This battery swapping idea has been tried multiple times,and except for one in China,have all failed. Tesla tried it,and gave up on it.
ReservoirPup
It is so inelegant a solution to a problem that has a few better solutions. Who would keep rolling a boulder up a hill😛?