- Focus on the fleet when changing batteries
- Long life for the battery, inside and outside the E-car
- Standardization is crucial for success on the market
Ample promises to make charging an electric car as easy as filling up. This is simply because the actual electric car is not charged at all, but small, modular battery packs are replaced by robots within minutes at appropriate battery changing stations. This creates a cost-effective, flexible solution to ensure that vehicles stay on the road for as long as possible, particularly in the case of fleets.
Ample says it has partnerships with five automakers with nine different electric vehicles that use or can be adapted to use Ample‘s modular battery packs. Paired with cost-effective battery change stations, which one would like to open in cities with strong electric fleet operation, the breakthrough should succeed. In a first clip – embedded later in the article – Ample shows how the battery replacement works in Stromer from Mercedes, Nissan and KIA. In addition, the start-up loses a few words about the partnership with Uber.
Focus on the fleet when changing batteries
The start-up itself makes it clear that its own focus is on fleets. Because their vehicles should of course be on the road for as long and as often as possible in order to earn money. Of course not if it has to be charged. Even if fast charging in 30 minutes were an option, there is still no time and it is not beneficial for the battery if it is constantly exposed to high charging currents. Of course, it cannot be ruled out that private individuals will also use the Ample service. Especially when there are no appropriate charging options at home or at work and charging needs to go faster.
The batteries are exchanged at battery changing stations, which take up the size of two conventional parking spaces. The vehicle drives into this “garage” and is lifted by a mechanism. This allows robots to unlock and remove the standardized 2.5 kWh modules while other robots replace them with fully charged ones. It currently takes about ten minutes to replace 20 modules (50 kWh), but in 2022 the aim is to change them in five minutes. Ample says their stations are cheap — about a tenth to a third the price of a high-power DC fast-charger like a 250kW CCS station, which despite its power probably takes around 30-40 minutes to charge the 50kWh. This will continue to be possible in the future, despite the built-in Ample technology.
In terms of price, the fact that Ample’s battery changing stations are not dependent on the fact that enormous amounts of electricity have to flow at once has a major impact. On the contrary, the modules can be slower, often overnight be charged. In times where electricity is just much cheaper. In addition, you can also use electricity from excess solar power during the day to load the modules. Furthermore, the batteries benefit from the slow load of an increased service life. Currently, it is that the start-up promises its customers that the total cost of batteries and energy will be better than that of gasoline.
Long life for the battery, inside and outside the E-car
As soon as a battery loses to capacity, it is also easy to rewind the module for use in home batteries and mains storage, where nobody takes care of size and weight and capacity loss, but only the capacity per dollar. In addition, you can incorporate future developments of battery technology into the modules. This also benefits the users of the Ample battery changing stations.
First, you address the fleet customers mentioned at the beginning. Uber in particular should play a decisive role here, since their drivers can usually not charge their own e-cars at their own homes and are therefore dependent on an appropriate charging infrastructure. However, it is questionable whether the company’s technology can gain a foothold there. As a rule, Uber drivers rely on inexpensive vehicles, which is not always the case with an electric car. Of course you save here in terms of maintenance costs over the lifetime of the vehicle, whether the costs for battery replacement and charging are actually cheaper than filling up with petrol has to be proven. If this were the case, e-cars could also become an option in these fleets.
Standardization is crucial for success on the market
In addition to the fact of acceptance on the user market, the standardization of the service also plays a decisive role. Ample wants every car to be able to mount its modules so that they are accessible from the underside of the car. To get cars into their system, they built replacements for their existing packs that their modules allow. That wouldn’t be easy on cars like future Teslas, where the battery pack is supposed to be a structural element – the battery pack will be part of the vehicle’s frame to reduce weight and cost. Realistically speaking, integration would only be possible if the plans for the modules were disclosed and the market opened up to everyone by lowering the barrier to entry accordingly. It has to be proven whether this leads to success.
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3 thoughts on “Ample wants to bring battery replacement into the fleet – Uber as the first customer”
10min for 50kwh… the Ioniq 5 already manages the same kwh amount in 18min.
By the time that comes onto the market we will probably be at 10 minutes for 50 kWh and it will become obsolete to use something like that.
Nio’s battery change takes 3 minutes haha
A removable battery weakens the bodywork, the vehicle floor has to be designed and reinforced differently, and the vehicle becomes heavier. It will probably not become more than a small niche.
In the case of electric car fleets, there are certainly longer vehicle downtimes, since there is a certain oversupply so that there are still enough vehicles available for customers even at peak times.